Spirit Daily


Four Years After Its Release, Disputes Remain Over The Third Secret Of Fatima

It's the controversy that won't go away. Was the third secret of Fatima really released in full? Might it even have been fabricated?

Since June of 2000, when the remaining portions of the secret were revealed by the Vatican, doubts have been cast on what was contained in the prophecy, which is probably the most famous religious prediction since Revelation was inserted into the New Testament [see official version].

Was it really everything the sole surviving seer, Lucia dos Santos -- still living as a cloistered nun in Portugal -- had been told by the Blessed Mother in 1917? Was it the whole package?

And if so, why did the official version, released by the Vatican's second in command, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, not mention a coming cataclysm?

Why were there no references to tidal waves or burning cities and whatever else was in reputed versions prior to 2000 -- or indicated in remarks made by John Paul II?

These are some of the issues and we respect those who raise them but must point out that the bottom line is that the secret was released under a saintly Pope and that it thus strains credulity to believe he would allow a fabrication or even an edited version -- a truncation -- to be perpetrated on the international public. This is a Pope who has a special devotion to Fatima and full cognizance of what was released.

To this day, four years after its release, while ill, he retains command of his faculties and in our view would never allow distortion of a secret that he held so dear. He is the last person we would expect to allow a lie. And he hasn't.

In fact, John Paul II studied the message while recovering in the Policlinico Gemelli from the gunshot that nearly took his life on another important Fatima anniversary (May 13, 1981, anniversary of the Blessed Mother's first Fatima apparition). He is said to have read and reread the secret and witnessed the miracle of the sun over the Seven Hills of Rome. Moreover, he credited the Fatima Virgin with saving his life. He believes she caused the bullet to take a miraculous route that avoided major blood vessels.

He would dare to distort her words?

"Archbishop [Tarcisio] Bertrone [secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith], accompanied by the Bishop of Leiria, His Excellency Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, will come in my name to ask questions about interpretation of 'the third part of the secret,'" the Pope wrote Sister Lucia on April 19, 2000, as the Vatican readied the secret's release. "Sister Maria Lucia," he said, "you may speak openly and candidly to Archbishop Bertrone, who will report your answers directly to me."

Thus we see the Pope's full involvement. Years before, in 1980 -- according to a publication called Stimme Des Glaubens -- the Pope, when asked about the secret and why it had not been released, had allegedly told a small gathering at a cathedral in Fulda, Germany:

"Given the gravity of its contents, so as not to encourage the worldwide power of Communism to take certain steps, my predecessors in the chair of Peter preferred, out of diplomacy, to delay its publication. On the other hand, all Christians must be content with this: if it is a question of a message where it is said that the oceans will entirely flood certain parts of the earth, that from moment to moment millions will die, hearing this, people should not long for the rest of the secret."

This quote -- which has never been verified -- is at the heart of many objections to what was later released.

Why wasn't that in the official secret?

While the millions perishing could be attributed to the nuclear bomb that was probably symbolized by the image of a flaming sword striking earth, which is in the official version of the secret, where in the official version is mention of the oceans [see full text]?

The problem with the conspiracy theory is that there is tremendous doubt the Pope had said what he was quoted as saying at Fulda to begin with and the remarks seem to refer to a bootleg version of the message called the Neues Europa secret -- which also mentioned such a cataclysm and has been denounced by Lucia herself.

In 1980, it's not even known what the Pope knew about the secret. It wasn't until 1981 -- a year later -- that he studied it.

And there would come to be other problems with the conspiracy theory. Sister Lucia [as youngster, left] herself put her signature to the version released by the Vatican -- with no complaint whatsoever of its handling and in fact total cooperation. Moreover, in the 83 years since it was given to her, she never said anything, under any Pope, that went beyond what was eventually released by Rome. It jived completely with her previous indications, including her constant attempts to dissuade end-of-the-world interpretations.

Additionally, the third secret as released by Rome perfectly fit the other two parts of the Fatima message in its economy of language and in its theme of the danger posed by atheist Russia -- which was apocalyptic enough, given that Russia had enough bombs to incinerate the earth.

The official secret indicated a potential nuclear holocaust and seemed to symbolize the martyrdom of Christians, especially priests and nuns, at the hands of the Soviets, which was a true enough prophecy -- in fact a stunning prediction of what turned out to be a horrible holocaust, with as many as 15 million killed in the persecution of Ukraine alone!

For years, beyond the Russian threat, Sister Lucia had dissuaded talk that the secret contained a prophecy of some future apocalypse. Rather, she hinted that it pertained to what had been going on around us.

That turned out to be the case. It is what she had always hinted at. She said the secret would become clearer after 1960 -- which is when Russia became a threatening atomic superpower, replete with the Cuban missile crisis.

So it is that when one looks at the connections between Fatima, the Pope, and the fall of Communism -- including the attempt on John Paul's life just as Communism was about to be brought down -- we note that the secret had plenty of drama without pertaining to the end of the world.

What else may happen in the future? In our view these events are contained in other secrets such as those dispensed at reputed sites like Medjugorje, which the Pope once described as the "fulfillment of Fatima" but which has not yet met with official Church approval. There are other secrets and they pertain to what is coming.

Meanwhile, the famed third secret itself has played out. By and large, it has been fulfilled.

Even those who believed the Fulda remarks had to see that for the most part -- aside from the ocean remark -- they coincided with the official secret and the emphasis on Russia.

Yet still there are those who dispute that (and, again, we honor their right at disagreement). Could a cabal at the Vatican have slipped a false version by the Pope? Was the public duped -- lied to -- by Cardinal Ratzinger?

These are some of the startling accusations, along with even more startling claims that there is now an impostor, a fake Sister Lucia (this asserted after she told a string of interviewers, including several bishops, political leaders, and lay visitors, that Russia had indeed been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart as requested in the first two parts of the message and that the secret was released validly).

We prefer not to involve ourselves in the heat of that debate, nor to get involved in the latest claims. One making the rounds on psychic websites purports that a layman had a five-minute meeting with Sister Lucia recently and shared with her visions of the imminent end (in one report beginning on October 13, which is anniversary of the famous sun miracle). This has to do with the "great and terrible day of the Lord," and admonishes the faithful not to believe the leaders of the Church. Supposedly he has had visions and Sister Lucia summoned him to speak of those visions and even to interpret them.

He may have visions, but such claims of an involvement with Sister Lucia -- who at 97 is still the personification of caution -- should be held at best with the most intense form of skepticism.

The same is true of alternate versions of the third secret, which does not have to be contrived for the future to be interesting -- or even for it to be apocalyptic.

There is an "apocalyptic" battle between good and evil in progress (this the word the Pope himself has used) and we are in a period of chastisement. Major events have occurred and others are on the way, with a denouement that is uncertain. But to believe everything is contained in the one secret and that it remains a secret is not credible. We don't think the Vatican lied.

At least that's our take on it, offered for your own considered judgment.

October 2004

[resources The Final Hour and Calls: Sister Lucia's book on the Fatima message]

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