The apparition of July 13, 1917
The “mystery” of the third secret – part two (the mystery of the third secret)
In the previous article we presented the “official” version of the third secret of Fatima. The announcement of the publication was given by Card. Sodano in May 2000 on the occasion of the trip to Fatima of John Paul II for the beatification of Francis and Jacinta Marto (May 13, 2000). Already on this occasion, about a month and a half before the actual publication (which took place on June 26, 2000 by means of the publication Il Messaggio del Card. Bertone), the Vatican gave a “preventive” interpretation of the content of the third secret “reducing” its prophetic content in the dramatic events that occurred during the twentieth century (from the Second World War, to the spread of Atheist Communism and the struggle between it and the Church) and therefore in past facts, culminating in the attack of 13 May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square to John Paul II. The publication of the third secret was accompanied by a theological commentary by the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Card. Ratzinger who basically adhered to this interpretation (then radically changing his position as Pope, as we will see later), albeit with the clarification that ” it is not theChurch’s intention to imposea single interpretation “.
Therefore it is not against faith, nor an act of disobedience, to think and believe that the third secret has not been fully revealed, and this for various reasons.
The interpretation given by the Vatican seems in fact more suitable for the second part of the secret, that relating precisely to the threat of a Second World War and the mistakes that Russia would spread throughout the world. In addition, there are some objective and documented testimonies and evidence, presented by authoritative exponents of the Catholic world, which make this thesis extremely reasonable and which, without pretending to exhaust such a vast subject, we will try to present in this article.
How the text of the third secret is born
An important clue that casts doubt on the completeness of the “official” version of the third secret, we can derive it simply by looking at the history of the drafting and assembly of the third secret by Sister Lucia, as well as the subsequent passages between the various protagonists who had the precious document in their hands.
We know that on August 31, 1941 Sister Lucia wrote the first two secrets (or the first two parts of the only message depending on how you want to see it), omitting the third secret because during the apparition of July 13, 1917 Our Lady forbade her to talk about it (except to Francis). The request to write the third secret was made to her in October 1943 by the Bishop Da Silva and Lucia, after two months of inner struggle, and only after the Virgin Mary appeared to her (in Tuy) to confirm that that was indeed god’s will, she obeyed and wrote it on January 3, 1944.
It is important at this point to ask what it was that terrified Lucia so much that she could not write. In the biography of Sister Lucia A path under the gaze of Mary (2014), published by the Carmelite monastery of Coimbra, where the seer lived long years until her death, we find the shocking diary page that narrates this episode: “I felt the spirit flooded with a mystery of light that is God and in him I saw and heard: the tip of the spear like a flame that stretches until it touches the earth’s axis and this gasp: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds come out of the embankments, overflow, flood and drag with them an incalculable number of houses and people: it is the purification of the world from the sin in which it has plunged”. Father Joaquin Alonso, historical archivist of Fatima, who knew deeply the seer, having unlimited access to her and her writings, was sure that the reason for this anguish could not be “only” the prophetic announcement of great cataclysms also because already the first two parts of the secret, from this point of view, were certainly not “reading” and Lucia does not seem to have had great resistance in putting them in writing. Probably, argues Fr. Alonso, the thing that most could trouble a cloistered nun in those years, raised and educated in obedience to her superiors in which she recognized the authentic representatives of god’s will, could only be something that concerned “infighting in the bosom of the Church itself and great pastoral negligence of the highest members of the hierarchy. Of the same opinion was the other great expert of Fatima, Frère Michel de La Sainte Trinité,according to which, more than any natural catastrophe (of which, moreover, the literature of other apparitions and messages of Our Lady was already full), could only be the danger of a great apostasy that would reach the highest summits of the Church itself.
This thought is not against the Gospel, nor against jesus’ promise that “the doors of the underworld will not prevail over it”,let alone against the dogma of the Pope’s infallibility (which as we know operates in very limited and well-defined cases and circumstances by the Pastor Aeternus of the First Vatican Council). In fact, of apostasy as a great final test that the Church will suffer, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 675) also speaks of it.
That this danger could be the reason for Sister Lucia’s upset, seems to be supported by the well-known inner phrase that the seer had in August 1931 in Tuy, during which she heard the following words of Our Lady: “Lucia, let these precise words of Jesus know: let my ministers know, since they follow the example of the King of France, delaying the fulfillment of my request, which will follow him also in misfortune”. The non-compliance referred to refers to the Consecration of Russia that the Virgin had requested in 1929, while the reference to the King of France refers to the episode of the request that Jesus, through the great Holy Apostola of the Sacred Heart St. Margaret M. Alacoque, made to King Louis XIV in 1689, to insert the Sacred Heart in the royal coats of arms, to build a temple in His honor , to consecrate France to His Most Sacred Heart and to ask the Pope for a Holy Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. None of these demands were granted and exactly a century later, in 1789, the revolution broke out French during which the monarchy fell and the King, his nephew, Louis XVI, who from prison, a century later, remembered those demands of Heaven, was guillotine in 1793 because it was too late. The consequences were devastating: the geopolitics of the whole of Europe was shocked, not to mention the damage that Enlightenment thought would bring in customs, in culture, but also in the Church with modernism that is one of its most poisonous fruits, and for which we still pay the consequences today. Another hypothesis that could explain Sister Lucia’s terror in writing the text of the third secret can be found in Antonio Socci’s book The Fourth Secret of Fatima (2006): the author wonders why in some places in the text of the third secret, Sister Lucia spoke of a “Bishop dressed in white” and in others more expressly of the “Holy Father”; perhaps it could refer to the possibility of someone who, despite wearing the papal dress, was not really and legitimately Pope or “two Popes”? But here, however close the scenario of the current ecclesial situation can be compared to this interpretation, we are in the field of hypotheses. Let us return to the facts and documents.
Let us resume the story of the writing of the text of the third secret, starting from the same words of Sister Lucia reported by Father Alonso:“Bishop da Silva and Canon Galamba told me to write it on the notebooks where I had kept my spiritual diary or,if I wished, to write it on a sheet,put it in an envelope, close it and seal it“. On 9 January 1944 Sister Lucia finally wrote to the Bishop: “I wrote what you asked of me; God wanted to test me a little, but in fact this was His Will: (the secret) is in a sealed envelope and it is in the notebooks”. He then placed the text of the secret in a sealed envelope on which hewrote: “By explicit order of Our Lady this envelope can be opened in 1960 by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria”.
Bishop Da Silva– who received the envelope only about six months later – put Lucia’s sealed envelope inside another sealed envelope on which he wrote that after his death it should be handed over to the Patriarch of Lisbon.
So Sister Lucia was offered two ways to put the text of the third secret in writing and it seems that she caught them both. This is, moreover, supported by other very clear evidence. For example, during the 2007 “Door to Door” television show, card. Bertone showed well four envelopes (and not two as one might have expected, namely that of Lucia and the one on which Bishop da Silva wrote his instructions on how to handle the envelope upon his death) of which two were reported the phrase of Sister Lucia about the order of Our Lady to open it in 1960,which two envelopes were certainly different as from the same television images you can see how the words “Nossa Senhora” on one envelope are both written on the first line, while on the other envelope are one on the first and one on the second line. This objective evidence shows that there can only be two envelopes (what would have been the point for Lucia to insert the same text in two envelopes one in the other?) It is evident that later, after the one in which she had prepared the letter addressed to Bishop Da Silva, Lucia herself decided to put the sheet of her spiritual diary in another separate sealed envelope.
Fatima’s third secret in the Vatican
In 1957 Rome ordered the secret to be taken to the Vatican. Let us therefore come to another great witness of the third secret of Fatima, Mons. Loris Capovilla,personal secretary of John XIII, from whose statements we learn the circumstances in which two Popes law the third secret. From his account, Pope John XXIII read the third secret in August 1959 in the presence of various witnesses including Mons. Capovilla himself and Father Paolo Tavares who was asked to translate it from Portuguese to Italian. John XXIII decided to close the text and asked Mons. Capovilla to write on the envelope the names of those present and that he did not give any judgment. Here we have a first contradiction as the official version of the Vatican reports that Pope John read the text of the third secret in 1960. However, it is true that card. Ottaviani testified that Pope John read a text contained in a sealed envelope and directly in Portuguese (so much so that the “official” version tells of a translation made in 1967 at the request of Paul VI, but why if it had already been done in 1959 if not because there was another text?).
Mons. Capovilla also tells of having been contacted by telephone on June 27, 1963 (a few days after the election of Paul VI)by Mons. Dell’Acqua on behalf of the new Pope himself, to know where the envelope of the third secret of Fatima was. The answer was that it was where John XXIII kept it, in the right drawer of the desk called “Barbarigo” in the Pope’s bedroom. Later, Mons. Dell’Acqua himself contacted him to tell him that in fact the envelope had been found. Paul VI, after reading the text, decided to do like his predecessor. Here we have a second contradiction in that the official version of the Vatican tells that Paul VI read the third secret on March 27, 1965 saying that, after reading it he sent it back (it means that the envelope had come from there) to thearchive of the Holy Office. We therefore have an inconsistency not only on the date, but also on the place where the text was kept. To a Catholic intellectual who questioned Mons. Capovilla about these contradictions, the secretary of John XXIII candidly replied that the envelope present in the Pope’s bedroom and that Paul VI read in 1963, was not the same that he read in 1965 and that came from the archives of the Holy Office! Moreover, there is also a contradiction on the date on which the text of the secret was read by John Paul II: his spokesman Navarro-Valls in an interview with the Washington Post revealed that this happened in 1978 (shortly after his election), while the official version of Card. Bertone talks about July 1981 at gemelli hospital (shortly after the attack). It is clear that there are two parcels!
The contents of the envelope (or envelopes?)
Turning to analyzing the contents of the envelopes, the contradictions continue. The official version states that the text written by Sister Lucia was written on four separate pages. Well, during the aforementioned broadcast “Porta e Porta” of 2007, card himself. Bertone shows the text written by Sister Lucia on a single sheet folded once in two halves, to form precisely four facades. So a single sheet and not “more sheets” as on the contrary card itself. Bertone had indicated in his second book The Last Seer (2007) reporting the words of Sister Lucia herself (interviewed by him) who would confirm: “yes, yes, they are my sheets … the sheets that I used.” But it’s not over! The sheet that card. Bertone shows live TV was 62 lines,but in 1955 the Card. Ottaviani, who had questioned Sister Lucia and had personally read the secret, had declared that it was a text of about 25 lines! Finally, of all the envelopes that card. Bertone showed on TV, none reported what John XXIII had written by Mons. Capovilla when he read the secret in 1959!
What witnesses said before the third secret was published
Another aspect to consider are the statements made in so many years, before the year 2000, by witnesses who had read the third secret and who all have, as a common factor, a reference to the serious danger of a great apostasy in theChurch, something to which the published text makes no reference. Among the many, we report the most significant and authoritative testimonies.
- The then Secretary of State Card. Pacelli (future Pope Pius XII) in 1931 made a surprising and prophetic statement, considering that by that date the third secret had not even been written by Sister Lucia: “I am concerned about the messages of the Blessed Virgin to little Lucia of Fatima. This insistence on Mary’s part on the dangers that threaten the Church, is a divine warning against suicide for the alteration of the Faith, in Her Liturgy, in Her theology“.
- December 26, 1957 Father Augustin Fuentes,postulator of the cause of beatification of Francis and Jacinta met Sister Lucia; of the contents of that conversation, which were published in 1958 with the approval of the ecclesiastical authority, we report some excerpts that seem extremely significant to us and that can be seen as a good synthesis of the spiritual message of Fatima: “Father, the SS.ma virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to His message, neither the good nor the wicked (…) But believe me, God will punish the world and do it in a terrible way. Heaven’s punishment is imminent (…) I can’t give any more details, because it’s still a secret (…) This is the third part of our Lady’s message, which will remain secret until 1960 (…) Tell them Father, that many times the Most Holy Virgin has said to my cousins Francis and Jacinta and to me, that many nations will disappear from the face of the earth (…) The devil knows what it is that most of all offends God and that will quickly procure him the greatest number of souls (…) he does everything to get the better of souls consecrated to God. What offends above all the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of the souls of religious and priests (…) In all the apparitions the Most Holy Virgin had a very sad appearance. She never smiled at us. My mission is not to indicate to the world the material punishment that certainly awaits it if it does not convert, but to remind everyone of the imminent danger of losing our souls for eternity, if we persist in sin (…) The Virgin told me that the devil is about to engage in a decisive battle against the Virgin,and this decisive battle is the final battle from which one side will emerge victorious and the other defeat; we have to choose right now which way to stand,whether with God or with the devil, there is no other possibility (…) She said that God had decided to give to the world the last two remedies against evil that are the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,which means that there will be no more (…) The two tools that have been given to us to save the world are prayer and sacrifice. The Most Holy Virgin wanted to give, at this end of the times in which we live, a new effectiveness at the recitation of the Holy Rosary (…) there is no problem, however difficult, material and above all spiritual, that cannot be solved by the prayer of the Holy Rosary (…) With the Holy Rosary we will be saved, sanctified, consoled Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls“. Despite previous ecclesiastical approval, on July 2, 1959 the Curia of Coimbra issued a very harsh note against Father Fuentes who was removed from office and made known a general denial by Sister Lucia. In addition, the Vatican imposed silence on the seer by prohibiting visits if not approved by Rome. What had changed in those months to go from a publication authorization to such a harsh censorship? In Rome the Pope had changed … having risen to the Petrine sole, John XXIII, the one who will decide, shortly there soon, not to fulfill Our Lady’s order to publish the third secret in 1960.
- At a conference in 1967, the Card. Ottaviani, prefect of the Holy Office, asked about the third secret, said: ” I can only tell you this: very difficult times will come for the Church and there is a need formany prayersso that apostasy is not too great“.
- In 1970 Sister Lucia wrote to a religious friend: “It is painful to see such great confusion and in so many people in positions of responsibility. The fact is that the devil manages to present evil under the appearance of good and the blind are beginning to guide others“.
- Before his death in 1981, Father Alonsosaid that:“in the period before the great triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, terrible things will happen. The latter form the content of the third part of the secret. If the dogma of faith is always preserved in Portugal, it can be inferred that in other parts of the Church these dogmas will become obscure or even completely lost“.
- In 1995, the Card. Ciappi –, theologian of all popes from Pius XII to John Paul II, declared that ” in the third secret it isforetold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will start from its summit“.
- Frère Michel de La Sainte Trinitè writes: “in many nations, almost in the whole world, faith will be lost. The Pastors of the Church will seriously in difference in the duties of their ministry (…) they will be seduced in large numbers by pernicious errors spread everywhere. This will be the time of the decisive battle between the Virgin and the devil. A wave of diabolical disorientation will unsettle the world. Satan will enter to the highest summit of the Church (…) This will be the great apostasy predicted for recent times: the “false lamb” and the “false prophet” will betray the Church for the benefit of the beast“.
- In 1998, the Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See revealed that the Card. Ratzinger he confirmed to himthat ” the messages of Akita and Fatima are essentially the same thing”. In Akita, Japan, appearing to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa on October 13, 1973 (note the date), Our Lady predicted a terrible punishment, greater than the Flood, which will wipe out much of humanity, if men do not convert, exhorting the daily prayer of the Holy Rosary, and that “the work of the devil will also be undermined in the Church in such a way that cardinals will be seen to oppose Cardinals, Bishops against Bishops; priests who venerate me will be despised and hindered by their confreres (…) the Church will be full of those who accept compromises “.
Our Lady’s order to reveal the secret in 1960
Another aspect that contributes to the mystery concerning the third secret of Fatima is that concerning the annotation of Sister Lucia on her envelope that contained the text of the third secret (which in fact reported, as we have seen, on two envelopes), about theorder of Our Lady, to reveal it in 1960. After the publication of the third secret, many Catholics raised doubts about the completeness of what was revealed, so much so that in 2007, Card himself. Bertone, considered necessary a second publication in which he reported the main contents of some conversations that he himself had with Sister Lucia between 2000 and 2003, including the alleged confirmations of the seer both about the completeness of what the Vatican had published, and about the interpretation that the message concerned nothing but the attack on John Paul II or in any case past events. The unreliability of these card considerations. Bertone manifests himself greatly when, wanting to close the age-old question of why the Vatican had not wanted to publish the text of the third secret in 1960 despite the order of Our Lady, he went so far as to say that Sister Lucia would confess to him that in reality it was not an explicit request of Our Lady, but his own initiative because he believed that year was sufficiently far away and that by that date she would already be dead. Now, apart from the fact that it is not clear why a person should presume to die in his fifties, it is clear that this version, even taking into account the inner struggle that Lucia had to face in order to be able to write the text of the third secret, is truly grotesque, far-fetched or even offensive to the seer who is passed off as a liar! What’s more, card. Bertone will deny himself only a few weeks later when, also during the television broadcast “Door to Door”, he showed the envelope in question in which you could see the writing of Sister Lucia who spoke of an “ explicit order of Our Lady ” to open the envelope in 1960. Sister Lucia could never have invented such a thing by attributing words to her that the Virgin would never really suggest to her.
The continuation of the phrase “in Portugal the dogma of faith will be preserved, etc.”
That the third secret of Fatima was divided into two parts enclosed in two distinct parcels is now more than evident. It is certainly not questioned that the part published by the Vatican concerning the famous vision of the Bishop dressed in white killed, is not really part of the third secret, however it is more than reasonable to think that this is not everything. Logic also suggests it to us, in fact:
- the text reported by the “official” version is not the logical continuation of the sentence with which the writing of Sister Lucia (in her IV Memory)was interrupted with the first two secrets ” In Portugal the dogma of faith will always bepreserved, etc.”
- for the other two secrets, Our Lady always also gives the explanation of the vision: why for the third secret there is no trace of any explanation of the Virgin?
- In addition to the admission of Mons. Capovilla (as we have already seen) we also have another authoritative witness of the existence of a second part of the third secret. This is Father Schweigl,emissary of Pius XII in Fatima, who in 1952 testified that “the second part (of the third secret) is the logical continuation of the words “In Portugal the dogmaof faith will always be preserved”.
The “dietrofront” of Benedict XVI
The last piece (last in chronological sense, but perhaps from the point of view of the authority of the source is perhaps among the most important) that definitively keeps open the question of the mystery of the third secret of Fatima is the affirmation of Pope Benedict XVI who in fact retracted what he had declared as Cardinal at the time of the publication of the third secret, when he had basically embraced the interpretation Sodano/Bertone. On the contrary, on May 13, 2010, during the homily he held in Fatima on the anniversary of his first appearance at the Cova d’Iria, the Pope stated that: “Those who thought that fatima’s prophetic mission was over would be deluded,”speaking explicitly of the need for a “passion of theChurch” and of suffering, attacks, persecutions to her coming not so much from the enemies outside, but from within. These statements fit perfectly, and go to close the circle, with the testimonies that we have reported about the danger of a serious apostasy in the Church.
We could stop for a long time to investigate many questions that come from reading this article, which is just a summary of many studies that have been conducted in recent years and which, as mentioned in the foreword, does not claim to exhaust the subject. Questions like:
- Why keep hidden the part of secrecy concerning the danger of serious apostasy in the Church?
- Why did the Popes, first and then John XXIII, not follow Our Lady’s order to reveal the third secret in 1960? Was it inconvenient because we were in the imminence of holding the Second Vatican Council and perhaps the foretold apostasy would come as a result of that important ecclesial event?
- Why has it not, to this day, wanted to follow up, at least not in the terms specified by you, not even the other great request of Our Lady, that of the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart?
- Why, if the content of the third secret of Fatima was attributable to past events and the attack on John Paul II in 1981, it waited almost another twenty years to publish it and some of the witnesses who had read it privately continued, even after 1981, to talk about serious dangers for the Church and for the world or the opportunity not to publish it to avoid a kind of general panic? What panic if the events had already happened? And why, for example, in 1994, just John Paul II (in a book by Vittorio Messori, “Crossing the thresholds of hope”),he said that “the words that Mary said to Fatima to the three little shepherds seem to approach their fulfilment” if the third secret referred to an event that had already happened in 1981?
These are questions that each of us can legitimately ask ourselves, but they must not take away from us the peace that comes from Our Lady’s promise that Her Immaculate Heart is our refuge and will ultimately triumph. When? We don’t know. Can we hurry him? Yes, of course, in response to your appeals. Even more easily we can make him triumph first of all in our soul, doing what the Immaculate asked of the little shepherds and, with them, of each of us: prayer (especially the Holy Rosary), penance, offering sacrifices, sacramental life and Eucharistic devotion, abandoning sin, the life of Grace and return to God.
Thinking about it well, the more time passes, the more we realize that the mystery that still covers the third secret of Fatima, thins, the fog thins and, those who have eyes to see (spiritual ones are understood) realizes that less and less remains to be known and more and more is carried out before us, right before our eyes, precisely in these times of ours , just these days.