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The Virgin Joan, Mother of the Christian State  (and Scourge of Feminists!)
Author POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Extraordinary Hours

Pope Reopens File on Third Secret of Fatima


Christopher A. Ferrara



With Cardinal Bertone looking on, the Holy Father

speaks of the Third Secret enroute to Fatima

(Posted May 17, 2010, I have just returned from Rome where I delivered a talk at the “Fatima Challenge” conference on “33 Reasons” for the existence of a missing text of the Third Secret of Fatima—a text that would explain the ambiguous vision, published June 26, 2000, of a “bishop dressed in white” who is executed atop a hill outside a half-ruined city filled with dead bodies.

My own contribution aside, Father Nicholas Gruner’s Fatima apostolate must be given credit for one of the most professionally mounted and substantively important conferences the Church has witnessed in recent years. Part of my talk addressed a development at the conference: some major slip-ups by the Vaticanist Giuseppe De Carli, who appeared to defend the “official version” of events maintained by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. 

According to Bertone, what the former Cardinal Ratzinger called the “difficult to decipher” vision is all there is to the Third Secret, Our Lady had nothing to say by way of explanation, and the vision—as Bertone “interprets” it—represents merely 20th century events culminating in the failed attempt on the life of John Paul II in 1981.

But, in response to my questions following his presentation, De Carli conceded that Bertone’s version is not at all the “official” version of the Church—of which there is none—but only the Cardinal’s opinion on the matter in the privately published book on which De Carli collaborated with the Cardinal, The Last Visionary of Fatima (L’Ultima Veggente di Fatima).

Further, I confronted De Carli concerning Bertone’s failure to produce the now famous “Capovilla envelope”—the envelope on which Archbishop Loris F. Capovilla, personal secretary to John XXIII, had written many historic notations concerning the text of the Secret inside, including the dictation of Pope John. After I pressed him repeatedly, De Carli suggested that Bertone had produced the envelope during his television appearance on the Italian talk show Porta a Porta on May 31, 2007, but had simply failed to turn it around so that we could see Capovilla’s notations on the back.

But, during his appearance on Porta a Porta, Bertone did turn the envelope around, and we have the still shots and video to prove it.  On the back of that envelope there is no writing of any kind, but only a lone wax seal placed there by the Bishop of Fatima more than 60 years ago.  Confronted with this fact, De Carli retreated to the position that it was his “distinct impression” (“la mia impressione netta”) that the “Capovilla envelope” and the “Bertone envelope” are the same. Yet they are manifestly not the same, and the Capovilla envelope has manifestly never been shown to the world.  And neither, therefore, has the text it contains—the very text we seek.

And now none other than Pope Benedict XVI—only days after the Fatima Challenge conference in Rome—has clearly and deliberately reopened the entire Third Secret controversy! During the Pope’s flight to Portugal for his just completed papal visit to the Fatima Shrine, papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi read to His Holiness three questions that represented a “synthesis” of the questions to which the press pool sought answers. In answering these questions, as John Allen notes, the Pope “was hardly caught off-guard. The Vatican asks reporters travelling with the pope to submit questions for the plane several days in advance, so Benedict has plenty of time to ponder what he wants to say. If he takes a question on the plane, it’s because he wants to talk about it, and he’s chosen his words carefully.”

In other words, the Pope wanted to talk about the Third Secret of Fatima, ten years after the subject was supposedly laid to rest. Here is the pre-selected question and the pertinent portions of the Pope’s explosive answer:

Lombardi: Holiness, what significance do the apparitions of Fatima have for us today? And when you presented the text of the Third Secret, in the Vatican Press Office, in June 2000, it was asked of you whether the Message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, also to the other sufferings of the Pope. Is it possible, according to you, to frame also in that vision the sufferings of the Church of today for the sins of the sexual abuse of minors?

Pope Benedict: Beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in substance refer to John Paul II, are indicated future realities of the Church which are little by little developing and revealing themselves. Thus it is true that beyond the moment indicated in the vision, one speaks, one sees, the necessity of a passion of the Church that naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope; but the Pope is in the Church, and therefore the sufferings of the Church are announced…. As for the novelty that we can discover today in this message,  it is that attacks on the Pope and the Church do not come only from outside, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from sins that exist in the Church. This has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies outside, but arises from sin in the Church.

Now, it is obvious that the vision of “the bishop dressed white” does not depict an attack on the Pope and the Church from enemies within, but rather the execution of (apparently) a future Pope by a band of soldiers outside the half-ruined city, followed by the execution of bishops, priests and members of the laity in a train of martyrs, not sinners, whose blood is gathered up by the angel who appears in the vision.      Only one thing could harmonize the vision with the internal subversion of the Church to which Benedict refers: a text in which the Virgin explains how a crisis within the Church leads to a chastisement of the Pope and the Church as seen in the vision, probably accompanied by a chastisement of the whole world, as the half-ruined city filled with bodies would indicate. (Tellingly, at the Fatima Challenge conference De Carli referred to the bodies as carbonizzati—charred!  Where did he acquire that detail?)

It would seem, then, that we are dealing with a missing text that would predict a great chastisement having to do with the telltale phrase that both Sodano and Bertone have avoided like the plague for the past ten years: “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc”—the “etc” having been added by Sister Lucia to indicate a precious message-warning from the Virgin in the words that follow. This is the phrase the Vatican commentary on the vision suspiciously evades by drawing the text of the Message of Fatima from Sister Lucia’s Third Memoir rather than the Fourth Memoir in which she added to the integral text of the Message the momentous reference to Portugal and the dogma of the Faith.  Even more suspiciously, the Vatican commentary consigns that reference to a footnote, describing it as “some annotations” by Lucia, when it clearly contains a direct quotation of the Mother of God.

In that same commentary, the former Cardinal Ratzinger hewed to the “party line” dictated by the Secretary of State—then Cardinal Sodano, now Bertone. In his own contribution to the commentary Cardinal Ratzinger said quite the opposite of what he now says as Pope Benedict: “No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled. We see the Church of the martyrs of the century which has just passed represented in a scene described in a language which is symbolic and not easy to decipher.”  The future Pope explicitly conformed himself to the Secretary of State’s party line: “First of all we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: ‘... the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past.’ Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past.” 

But what authority has the Vatican Secretary of State to interpret the Message of Fatima? None, of course. The Sodano/Bertone “interpretation” of the Third Secret has no weight whatsoever and now joins so many other pseudo-authoritative pronouncements in the post-conciliar discard bin.

Antonio Socci, whose book Fourth Secret of Fatima (which I was privileged to translate from the Italian) essentially accuses the Vatican Secretary of State of a cover-up of the very words of the Mother of God, was quick to comment on the Pope’s explosive remarks.  

For those who do not know, Antonio Socci is one of Italy’s foremost Catholic intellectuals, an Italian celebrity of the first rank who hosted his own television show on one of the major Italian TV stations.  He is not a traditionalist, but on the contrary first entered the Fatima controversy utterly convinced that the traditionalists were wrong about the Third Secret, only to conclude upon examination of the evidence “that there is a part of the Secret not revealed and considered unspeakable is certain.”

“The Pope,” he writes, “is engaged in a great Operation Truth on Fatima, at the cost of contradicting the version of the Secretaries of State.”  Socci ties the Pope’s remarks to a letter from Lucia presented by the Vatican itself back in 2000, in which the seer states that we “have not yet seen the final consummation of this prophesy” and that “we are walking toward it, little by little, with large steps.” Noting that the Secretary of State has simply ignored the import of that warning while pretending that the Secret “belongs to the past,” Socci calls it “only one of so many anomalies in this fifty-year-old story that, unfortunately, is filled with lies and silences, twisted interpretations and omissions (as I have shown in my book).”

NBC/Universal recently interviewed me at length for an upcoming feature on the Third Secret. The producer was stunned to learn of this development, which means, as Socci puts it, that the Pope himself has “reopened the file in a way so precise and dramatic that those who in recent years have paid homage to the Curial version find themselves in a panic…” Moreover, writes Socci, “the Pope knows more than us and holds that this [pedophilia] scandal is only the tip of the iceberg in the Church… and he is thinking of the great sin of apostasy in the Church.” The Pope, he concludes, “perhaps cannot say it explicitly, but is trying to prepare the Church for this immense trial… entrusting everyone to the hands of the Madonna of Fatima.  These are extraordinary hours.”

Indeed they are.  And in these extraordinary hours it is long past time for Catholics to concern themselves with matters a bit weightier than an audit of the Federal Reserve System or a return to the gold standard. Our entire civilization is hurtling toward an abyss opened up by its own apostasy.  The Founding Fathers cannot save us. Our only hope is with the Virgin of Fatima, Mother of God and Patroness of the Americas.

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