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The Controversy Over the Third Secret: Objections and Responses [Catholic Caucus]
Insight Scoop ^ | May 13, 2013 | Carl E. Olson

Posted on 05/14/2013 2:38:33 PM PDT by NYer

The Controversy Over the Third Secret: Objections and Responses | Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R. | Appendix D from Fatima For Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope

The Third Secret has been dealt with in two chapters in this book. Chapter 8 presented the content of the Third Secret as Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta saw it revealed to them. Chapter 16 presented how Sister Lucia wrote the Third Secret on a separate manuscript and then placed it in a sealed envelope. The chapter also traces what popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II did after reading it.

The Third Secret was first made public at the Beatification Mass of Francisco and Jacinta Marto on May 13, 2000, in the Cova da Iria where the secret was originally revealed to the three children on July 13, 1917. Unfortunately, controversy created by certain objections surrounded the Third Secret almost from the moment it became public. We will look at each main objection separately, and offer a response to each.

Objection: The original Third Secret was written on one sheet of paper.

Many clerics who were familiar with the original text, including bishops who worked with popes John XXIII and Paul VI, said that the Third Secret was written on a single sheet of paper (e.g., Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, who read the Third Secret with Pope John XXIII). [1]

The controversy came about when on June 26, 2000, the Vatican released a copy of Sister Lucia's handwritten text in a four-page format. [2] Though there are several possible ways a single sheet of paper can be turned into more than one page (written on both sides, folded and written on multiple sides, etc.) or copied onto more than one page, some critics said that the Vatican copy could not have been made from the authentic text and that some other document exists that contains the real Third Secret.

The Vatican copy of Sister Lucia's handwritten manuscript appears in the document The Message of Fatima prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the introduction, the secretary of the Congregation at the time, Archbishop Bertone, stated: "There is only one manuscript, which is here reproduced photostatically." Sister Lucia herself confirmed the validity of the Vatican text. Archbishop Bertone and Bishop Seraphim de Sousa of Leiria met with Sister Lucia at her Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal, on April 27, 2000. The Archbishop presented two envelopes to Sister Lucia. The first or outer envelope contained the second envelope, which held the Third Secret. Touching it with her fingers, Sister Lucia said, "This is my letter." Then, while reading it, she said, "This is my writing." [3] When asked if this document was the one and only Third Secret, Sister Lucia answered, "Yes, this is the Third Secret, and I never wrote any other." [4]

We have additional proof from Sister Lucia that the photocopy of the Third Secret was authentic. She met again with Archbishop Bertone on November 17, 2001. A communique about that meeting carried this most important point:

With reference to the third part of the secret of Fatima, [Sister Lucia] affirmed that she had attentively read and meditated upon the booklet published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [The Message of Fatima] and confirmed everything that was written there. To whoever imagines that some part of the secret has been hidden, she replied: "everything has been published; no secret remains." To those who speak and write of new revelations, she said: "There is no truth in this. If I had received new revelations, I would have told no one, but I would have communicated them directly to the Holy Father." [5]
Objection: The text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican contains no words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The message of the Third Secret was not conveyed in words by our Lady, but in the various visions the children saw. Our Lady spoke simply by her actions, as when she prevented the fire from the flaming sword of the angel from touching the earth and consuming it. Archbishop Bertone explained:
The part of the text where the Virgin speaks in the first person wasn't censored, for the simple reason that it never existed. The text these people talk about just doesn't exist. I am not toeing some party line here. I'm basing my statement on Sister Lucia's own direct confirmation that the Third Secret is none other than the text that was published in the year 2000. [6]
Objection: The Vatican's copy of the Third Secret contains no information about a nuclear holocaust, a great apostasy, or the satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church.

This objection is largely the result of the disappointment that some people felt when the Third Secret was finally revealed. Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) predicted this disappointment. "A careful reading of the [Third Secret]", he wrote, "will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled." [7]

The years of waiting for the revelation of the Third Secret combined with the discretion of the Vatican built up in many people's minds the idea that the Third Secret predicted some catastrophe, like a nuclear war, a world-wide natural disaster or a great tribulation within the Church. Some people even developed a "conspiracy mentality", in which they assumed the faithful were not being told the truth about what was going to happen in the Church and in the world. Some critics have accused Vatican officials of publishing a fraudulent Third Secret or of withholding important information. The problem here is that no one has ever seen any other Third Secret of Fatima than the one that has already been released to the public. The burden of proof lies with the critics. They must produce another document or at least reliable witnesses who have seen and read it. At this point none have come forward.

There is one final authority who should be quoted. He is Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who once served as private secretary to Pope John XXIII. He had read the Third Secret along with Pope John XXIII and actually held the manuscript in his hands. Certain people have claimed that he had said there were "two texts" of the Third Secret. However, Archbishop Capovilla made the following clear and definitive statement:

There are not two truths from Fatima, nor is there any fourth secret. The text which I read in 1959 is the same that was distributed by the Vatican. . . . I have had enough of these conspiracy theories. It just isn't true. I read it, I presented it to the Pope and we resealed the envelope. [8]
As for the doomsday predictions, we know that a terrible world-wide natural catastrophe or a nuclear war could happen, but that would be the result of our sins. This is why we must heed our Lady's message for prayer and penance. We also know that with the spread of secularism and religious indifference, many Catholics are no longer practicing their faith. But again, the remedy for this is prayer, penance and a fervent Christian life, as our Lady requested at Fatima. As for any triumph of Satan over the Church, this is impossible. Jesus himself said so when he told Saint Peter: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16: 18). It will not be Satan who will conquer, but Jesus with his Immaculate Mother who will crush the head of the serpent.

Objection: The text released by the Vatican is not written in the form of a letter.

Some of the clerics who lived at the time the Third Secret was written mentioned it in terms of a letter, but this was not an emphatic point they were making. The photocopy of the original manuscript released by the Holy See does not have a formal address to the Bishop, however it does have a certain likeness to a letter. The document begins with a title like those in Lucia's memoirs and has a kind of introduction that makes reference to the Bishop:
[title] The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.
[introduction] I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. [9]<
Archbishop Bertone said that the point about the document being written in the form of a signed letter is not very important. He said of some of his critics that "they look at everything through the magnifying glass of their own biases. As a result they latch on to the most unbelievable things." [10]

As a final plea, let us set aside our doubts and support our Holy Father in the present struggle with our prayers, our fidelity, our service and our love! This would be very pleasing to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! I am absolutely confident that the Holy Father has fully conveyed Our Lady of Fatima's message to us!


[1] The Last Secret, p. 63.
[2] A copy of the 4-page format of the text of the Third Secret can be found in From the Beginning, pp. 251-54, as well as on the Vatican website.
[3] Message of Fatima.
[4] The Last Secret, p. 64.
[5] "Sister Lucy: Secret of Fatima Contains No More Mysteries", Vatican Information Service, Dec. 20, 2001.
[6] The Last Secret, p. 66.
[7] " Theological Commentary" .
[8] "Last Surviving Witness Says Third Fatima Is Fully Revealed", Catholic News Agency, September 12, 2007.
[9] Message of Fatima.
[10] The Last Secret, p. 66.

TOPICS: Catholic; History; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: fatima; francisco; jacinta; sisterlucia

1 posted on 05/14/2013 2:38:33 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

For decades, we prayed for Russia. Today, christianity has been restored in the former Soviet Union. Those prayers were answered. Yet, the discussion continues. If anything, we now need to pray for our own country, where religion is in rapid decline.

2 posted on 05/14/2013 2:40:47 PM PDT by NYer (“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possibl)
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To: NYer
Why the suden rush of damage control articles about Fatima?

9 things to know and share about the "Third Secret" of Fatima

by Jimmy Akin Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:26 PM Comments (33)

The "Third Secret" of Fatima is the most famous private revelation of the 20th century. Here are 9 things to know and share with friends about it . . .

The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima are famous for the three-part "secret" they conveyed.

Of these, the "third secret" is the most famous, because it was kept confidential at the Vatican for many years.

Only a few popes and a select few others read it--until the year 2000, when Pope John Paul II published it for the whole world to read.

Here are 9 things to know and share with friends about it . . .


NOTE: We've already looked at the apparitions at Fatima in general and at the first two parts of the secret. For information on that, you should click here.


1) What is the third part of the secret or "third secret"?

Here is what Sr. Lucia wrote:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'

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 [The Message of Fatima [MF], "Third Part of the 'Secret'"].


2) What does the secret refer to?

In a letter to John Paul II date May 12, 1982, Sr. Lucia wrote:

"The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady’s words [in the second part of the secret]: ‘If not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated’ (13-VII-1917)" (MF, Introduction).

In general terms, then, the third part of the secret refers to the twentieth-century conflict between the Church and Communist Russia.


3) What does the angel with the flaming sword symbolize?

The angel with the flaming sword  represents the judgment that would fall on the world were it not for the intercession of Mary (and, of course, the intercession of others, though here it is Mary with whom we are concerned since she radiates the light that stops the flaming sword).

For many years it was rumored that the third part of the secret involved the possibility of a nuclear war. If there is anything in the text that suggests this, it is the flames of the sword, which Sr. Lucia noted "looked as though they would set the world on fire."

In Scripture, fire can be an image of judgment or conflict in general. In his commentary on the angel’s flaming sword, however, Cardinal Ratzinger seems to allude to nuclear war:

"Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: Man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword" (MF, "Theological Commentary").

In the 1984 consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the second of Pope John Paul II’s specific petitions was:

"From incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us" (Sodano, MF, "Introduction").


4) What does the bishop in white and his journey represent?

The seers then saw in the unapproachable light of God a reflection of someone who, Lucia says, "we had the impression . . . was the holy father."

With the pope were others climbing a mountain to a rough-hewn cross. Mountains are traditional places where man meets with God, the difficult process of ascending the mountain suggesting the perseverance required to follow God. The ruggedness of the cross depicted in the vision evokes the harshness of the sufferings of Christ and those who share in his sufferings.

The journey of the pope and those with him through the half-ruined city suggests that the Church must pass through the destruction that accompanies war, and it evokes the suffering of the pontiff in witnessing this destruction but being unable to stop it. This reflects the experience of many twentieth-century popes.


5) What does the apparent killing of the bishop in white refer to?

This appears to refer to the attempted assassination on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981--the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima's first appearance.

It shows that he, like numerous other members of the Church, must face the possibility of martyrdom in the conflict between the Church and Russian Communism.

There are, in fact, significant indications that the would-be papal assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, was on a mission sponsored by Soviet Russia.

There are two aspects of this part of the secret that will be seized upon by those who wish to challenge the Holy See’s interpretation. First, the killers are described as a group of soldiers using guns and arrows, not as a lone gunman who is not a soldier.

However, the third part of the secret describes one group of people killing another group. The soldiers in the vision seem to represent all those who have been used by Communists to martyr or attempt to martyr Catholics, and those being killed represent all Catholics who suffer in this way at the hands of Communists. The vision thus indicates that the Holy Father will himself be a victim of this violence, though without indicating the particular means by which it will be brought to bear upon him.

Critics of the Holy See’s interpretation will also point to the fact that Pope John Paul II did not die. To this there are a couple of responses:

(1) If in the vision Lucia saw the pope being shot and falling over, she might well have thought that he had been killed even though in reality he would only be gravely wounded.

(2) The intercession of Mary may have changed what would have happened. After he read the third secret, John Paul II attributed his survival to Mary guiding the bullet so that he did not die. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger commented:

"That here ‘a mother’s hand’ had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies" (Ratzinger, MF, op. cit.).


6) What do the angels with the aspersoria refer to?

An aspersorium can refer to a stoup, basin, or vessel used to hold holy water or it can refer to the aspergill used to sprinkle holy water.

Either way, the angels using the blood of the martyrs to sprinkle the souls going to God gives us a powerful symbol of salvation, of the honor shows to the martyrs by God, and of the significance of their blood. Cardinal Ratzinger points out:

"Therefore, the vision of the third part of the ‘secret,’so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope: No suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God" (op. cit.).


7) Did Mary demand that the pope reveal the secret in 1960?

You often hear people claim this, but no, she did not. Here are the actual facts:

Before giving the sealed envelope containing the third part of the “secret” to the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Sister Lucia wrote on the outside envelope that it could be opened only after 1960, either by the Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria [Bertone, MF, "Conversation with Sr. Maria Lucia"].

Thus the message on the outside of the envelope said that it "could be opened only after" 1960, not that it must be published to the world in 1960.

Furthermore, it envisioned the opening being done by the Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria, not the pope.

This still leaves us with the question of why 1960. This was clarified in a conversation between then-Archbishop Bertone and Sr. Lucia:

Archbishop Bertone therefore asked: “Why only after 1960? Was it Our Lady who fixed that date?”

Sister Lucia replied: “It was not Our Lady. I fixed the date because I had the intuition that before 1960 it would not be understood, but that only later would it be understood. Now it can be better understood. I wrote down what I saw; however it was not for me to interpret it, but for the Pope" [ibid.].

Sr. Lucia's intuition may have been correct, since the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war were well understood by 1960, though not in 1944, when the third part of the secret was originally written down.


8) Has the Vatican revealed the whole of the secret?

Despite the claims of some to the contrary, yes, it has. In his theological commentary, the future Pope Benedict XVI says so twice:

A careful reading of the text of the so-called third “secret” of Fatima, published here in its entirety long after the fact and by decision of the Holy Father, will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. 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. . . .

Thus we come finally to the third part of the “secret” of Fatima which for the first time is being published in its entirety [Ratzinger, MF, op. cit.].

Unless you think that the future pope--who was himself the keeper of the secret at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith--was lying then the whole secret has been revealed. 


9) Are other interpretations of the “third secret” possible?

Since the Holy See has not infallibly defined the subject, other interpretations are possible. This does not mean that other interpretations are rational—at least if they depart from the main lines of the interpretation given by the Holy See.

Sr. Lucia herself indicated that she agreed with the interpretation offered by the Vatican:

Sister Lucia agreed with the interpretation that the third part of the “secret” was a prophetic vision, similar to those in sacred history. She repeated her conviction that the vision of Fatima concerns above all the struggle of atheistic Communism against the Church and against Christians, and describes the terrible sufferings of the victims of the faith in the twentieth century [Bertone, MF, op. cit.].

If she was satisfied that this is the correct interpretation, we should be, too.


3 posted on 05/14/2013 2:46:46 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
Why the suden rush of damage control articles about Fatima?

Until you posed the question, I have not seen any.

Question: Since the prayers for the conversion of Russia worked, why the continued conspiracy post? Why aren't the trads now pleading for prayers for the west - Europe, Canada, North & South American?

4 posted on 05/14/2013 4:24:12 PM PDT by NYer (“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possibl)
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To: NYer
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5 posted on 05/14/2013 4:54:55 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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