Today Is the 93rd Anniversary of the July 13 Secret of Fatima

“On July 13, around noon…” Ninety-three years ago today, on July 13, 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, saw an apparition of a Lady, and heard a message…

By Robert Moynihan

The Mystery Remains

Ninety-three years ago today, on July 13, 1917 — precisely when Lenin was beginning to foment the Russian revolution in Petrograd (see — three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, for the third time in three months on the 13th of the month (May 13, June 13, July 13), saw a Lady appear before them in the air, an apparition, and heard her speak a message.

It was about noon.

Such was the origin of the “secret” of Fatima — of three secrets, to be precise.

At that moment, in mid-1917, Europe was, for all intents and purposes, committing a type of suicide. World War I was three years old. Hundred of thousands of young men were lined up in trenches on the Western front, and in some battles, like Verdun, hundreds of thousands were killed in a matter of hours, as lines of human flesh surged forward, were mowed down, and surged forward again — in vain.

In the West, there was stalemate.

In the East, the Russians changed their government, pulled out of the war, and the Germans, essentially, won.

In those months in the middle of 1917, the civilization that had once been called “Christendom” energetically sculpted its own tombstone. (We are putting the finishing touches on that work in our own time.)

Wherever there had been a Christian government, a Christian legislation, a Christian ethos, a Christian world, it was being dismantled.

In central Europe, the Catholic Hapsburg government of Austria-Hungary, heir of the Holy Roman Empire with roots deep in the middle ages, was overthrown. The Emperor Karl and his wife were exiled to the island of Madeira, and the modern, secular states of Austria and Hungary were born.

In Russia, once called “Holy Russia,” the Romanovs were overthrown by Lenin, and communism became the official religion of the state, dogmatically atheistic, and the Russian Orthodox Church went into eclipse, fiercely persecuted. The new rulers turned churches into latrines.

In Germany, after the war, the Weimar Republic replaced the rule of the Protestant Hohenzollern Kaiser, and shortly thereafter the National Socialists came on the scene, while in England, the Anglican monarchs, heads of the Church, increasingly gave way to Parliament as Britain too grew ever more secularized.

The three children of Fatima must have dimly conceived of these events, as their elders and parish pastors must have spoken of the terrible war, and of the overthrow of traditional values which was occurring everywhere, and even all around them, in Portugal. (For a synthetic summary of Portugal’s anti-clerical revolution in 1910 in a popular style, see:


A Reflection on Apparitions

Can apparitions really occur?

Isn’t it almost silly, according to our “modern” mind, which is so very rational, to think that the heavens can open, and a face can appear, and speak, to three children, or to a nun in Japan, or to a group of young people in Yugoslavia?

It does seem silly to many. Yet there is no doubt that apparitions occur. The evidence is overwhelming.

The entire tradition of Scripture, of the people of Israel, of the Christian people from the beginning, is filled with appearances, epiphanies, moments when the veil which separates this “age,” this temporal world, from the “age to come,” the “eternal world,” parts, or lifts, and dazzling light, or a resplendent face, appears. This has happened, and happens.

Yet what does it mean? Many, indeed, would argue that it is “merely” a “psychological phenomenon.”

And they would be, in a sense, right!

The phenomenon does occur in the mind, in the psyche.

But that does not mean that what occurs is not true, not an “objective” phenomenon.

Such theophanies, such “revealings” of the presence of the holy (and God alone is holy) are like the moment of the Transfiguration. They are like the moment at table after the walk to Emmaus, when Jesus is recognized, even though he had already been with the disciples for many hours.

And, at Fatima, the objective reality of this “phenomenon” was punctuated dramatically on October 13, 1917, when the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred.

In front of a startled crowd of some 70,000 people, including the most skeptical of observers, something happened which was extraordinary and dramatic, and was perceived even by those who were not “susceptible” to such phenomena. There are even photographs of the stunned spectators looking up toward the sun-filled sky. Something happened. Something happened.

We once called such moments graces, literally, gifts. Something freely given by an “other” to someone who may be very humble, very unlearned, very simple, very ordinary by most standards.

In this sense, there is no particular honor, no personal sense of pride, to be associated with “receiving” an apparition, or any gift, of God. Since it is something given, it is, by definition, unmerited. There is truly no basis for the “mystic” to vaunt his “worth” — had God not desired to give the “experience,” it would not have been given.

Indeed, sometimes it seems that it is only those who are small, and weak, and broken, who can receive such graces. Like impoverished shepherd children in Portugal…

Sometimes, even, such graces seem sent in order to heal, to help set in motion a healing process — this could occur, perhaps, even to a modern person, even, perhaps, to a Vatican journalist.

Those who do not receive such graces — well, perhaps they are not so in need of healing, not so broken.

Being broken may be part of the price of being receptive to such graces, noticing them, “seeing” them.

It is all a mystery.

Benedict and Fatima

Strikingly, Pope Benedict reflected on precisely this mystery only two months ago, when he visited Fatima on the 93rd anniversary of the first apparition, on May 13.

During his homily that day, he said that some people might react with jealousy to Mary’s apparitions to the three young visionaries, disappointed that they have not had such experiences.

But that’s a mistake, he said, because God’s power can be perceived by all.

“God… has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses,” he said.

“For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul,” he said.

In that same homily, the Pope made the interesting remark that Fatima’s message and mission are “not over.”

They are not over, the Pope said, because the need for penance and conversion in the world continues.

And, as he flew to Portugal, speaking to reporters on his plane, the Pope suggested that the Fatima prophecy of a time of suffering for the Church could refer, in a general way, to the priestly sex abuse crisis.

“The Lord told us that the Church will always be suffering in various ways, up to the end of the world,” he said. “The important point is that the message, the answer of Fatima, is not substantially addressed to particular devotions, but is the fundamental response: permanent conversion, penance, prayer, and the three cardinal virtues: faith, hope and charity.” (Here is a link to a story on these events:

What Was the Message?

The children of Fatima said that, against their own volition and expectation, they saw a Lady, who appeared beautiful to them, and who spoke to them.

What was the essence of her message? What were the contents of her “secrets”?

I had thought much about writing on this matter. It has been on my mind for some time. And I have even taken some halting steps to research the question.

I have spoken twice, in person, at length, to Archbishop Loris Capovilla, the private secretary of Pope John XXIII, at Capovilla’s residence in northern Italy (he is still alive today; he lives near the birthplace of Pope John XXIII, in a tiny village called Sotto il Monte, not far from Bergamo).

We discussed the “third secret,” which he opened in the summer of 1959, at John XXIII’s request, out at Castel Gandolfo, in August of that year.

The Pope, with a Portuguese monsignor present to translate, read the text. John then ordered Capovilla to put it back in the envelope and told him to write on the envelope that it had been opened on that day, that the Pope had read it, and that the Pope had decided to leave the message for one of his successors to make public.

I asked Capovilla about the size and shape of the envelope he put the secret in, and exactly what he wrote on the outside of the envelope, and even whether he wrote in pencil or ink — ink, he said.

I spoke about Fatima more than once with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The last time was in mid-March of 2005, just two weeks before John Paul II died, and just one month before Ratzinger was elected Pope.

In the days just after that meeting, I visited Sister Lucia’s convent in Coimbra. (Lucy was one of the three shepherd choldren, along with Francisco and Jacinta, who saw the apparitions; she lived until she was 97.) She had just died, in February 2005. (Here is a link to the story of her life:úcia_Santos)

I received permission to visit her cell. I saw the little bed she slept on, and died on. I saw the lemon tree in the cloister garden outside her window. I saw the box of thread and beads she kept on her desk to make rosaries…

I later met and talked with Antonio Socci, author of a book which alleges that the text of the “third secret” released by the Vatican is not complete.

And over the years I have traveled 15 times to Russia, meeting with Catholic and Orthodox and even Communist officials there, attempting, in my own small way, to ascertain whether the “conversion of Russia” promised by Our Lady at Fatima has already occurred, or is starting to occur, and what I possibly could write, or do, to help that process in a nation which passed through 70 years of official state atheism. (Hence the effort to sponsor concerts of Russian Orthodox music in the West.)

Also, in recent years, I have spoken with high-ranking officials in the Catholic Church who have told me they are troubled by the lack of clarity about the entire matter of Fatima, even now — even since Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, has stated publicly that everything is clear and there is no problem about the content of the “third secret.” And, as these officials are superior to me, I cannot but feel they they are quietly encouraging me to continue to study this question, although I do not know why that should be so.

Regarding our understanding of the message of Fatima, what has changed in the past 10 years is the sexual abuse scandal. What has changed is the awareness of corruption in the Church, in men and women of the Church, on a level which, prior to ten years ago, most felt was impossible.

And so the essential message of Fatima, the message to repent, and to pray, and to offer up personal sacrifices for the souls of many, seems more relevant today than ever.

Whether the consecration of Russia has ever been done according to the will of the Lady who appeared at Fatima, is not a matter for me to judge. Clearly, many officials in the Church affirm that it has been done, and many simple faithful continue to have their doubts, since the word “Russia” was never publicly used.

And whether the full text of the “third secret” was or was not revealed is also not a matter for me to judge. Many officials in the Church affirm that it has been, and many simple faithful continue to have their doubts.

But the profound basis of the entire story remains this: three simple children were chosen to see and hear certain things, and through them, thousands more, then millions more, were able to catch a glimpse “behind the veil.”

And what they saw so moved them that they spent the rest of their lives attempting to live, and communicate, what they had seen and heard.

It is this sense of the reality of the holy, the reality of the divine, the reality of the need for all of us to grow closer to this great reality, which I think is the essence of the message of Fatima.

And if we have lost our belief in the reality and importance of these things, then we have fallen far, and are to be pitied, for we have lost our way.

The Wikipedia Summary of the Story of Fatima

I do not think I can go too far wrong by printing here the entry posted on Wikipedia under the title “Three Secrets of Fatima.” (Link:átima).

I think the article presents many of the issues, and gives many of the key dates and texts, regarding this question, all in one continuous, clear narrative.

This article, then, provides a “panoramic” perspective on the question.

Certainly, more could be said. Certainly, questions are left open. Some would prefer that no questions be left open. But there are many with questions, and this is a fact.

So I do not assert this text is “official,” or even that it is balanced; I say only that this text is what is being read by thousands on the internet when they go to find information about this matter.

In that sense, this text helps to frame the questions raised, and answers given, regarding the “three secrets” of Fatima, which we recall on this day, 93 years later.

The Three Secrets

Three Secrets of Fátima
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Three Secrets of Fátima consist of a series of visions and prophecies allegedly given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, on 13 May 1917. The three children claimed to have been visited by a Marian apparition six times between May and October 1917. The apparition is now popularly known as Our Lady of Fátima. According to the most popular interpretation, the three secrets involve Hell, World Wars I and II, and the shooting of Pope John Paul II.

On 13 July 1917, around noon, the lady is said to have entrusted the children with three secrets. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of José da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta.[1] When asked by the Bishop of Leiria in 1943 to reveal the third secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being “not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.”[2] However, in October 1943 the bishop of Leiria ordered her to put it in writing.[3] Lucia then wrote the secret down and sealed it in an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when “it will appear clearer.”[4] The text of the third secret was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000, although some claim that it was not the real secret revealed by Lucia, despite assertions from the Vatican to the contrary.

The first secret was a vision of Hell:

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.[5]

Second secret

The second secret is a statement that World War I would end and supposedly predicts the coming of World War II should God continue to be offended and if Russia does not convert.[citation needed] The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light*, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she 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. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.[6]

This secret’s controversy is second only to the supposed final secret of Fátima, as it seemingly predicts both the all-encompassing World War II, the radical Anti-theistic ideology of the Soviet Union; the proxy wars and limited direct confrontations that would be initiated between the Western Democracies and the Soviet Bloc.[citation needed]

Some critics have noted that the “Prophecy” was not disclosed until August 1941, after World War II had already begun.[7] To put this in context, Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, began on 22 June 1941. This means that by the time the secret was revealed, all the events it ‘predicts’ had already occurred. The secret also singles out Russia while ignoring Hitler and the Nazis.
Pope Pius XII allegedly consecrated Russia on 7 July 1952.[8]

Third secret

The third part of the secret was allegedly written down “by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother “. . . on 3 January 1944.[9]. In 1943, Lúcia fell ill with influenza and pleurisy, which had killed her cousins. For several months, she was sure she was going to die. Bishop Silva, visiting her on 15 September 1943 while she was bed-ridden, first suggested that she write the third secret down to ensure that it would be recorded in the event of her death. Lucia was hesitant to do so, however. She was under strict obedience according to her Carmelite vows, but when she received the secret, she had heard Mary say not to reveal it. For a time, she was in a quandary as to whose orders took precedence. Finally, in mid-October, Bishop Silva sent her a letter containing a direct order to record the secret, and Lúcia obeyed. In June 1944, the sealed envelope containing the third secret was delivered to Silva, where it stayed until 1957, when it was finally delivered to Rome.[10]

It was announced by Cardinal Sodano on 13 May 2000, 83 years after the first apparition of the Lady to the children in the Cova da Iria, that the Third Secret would finally be released. In his announcement, Cardinal Sodano implied that the secret was about the persecution of Christians in the 20th century that culminated in the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981.[11]
The text of the Third Secret was published on 26 June 2000:


The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 May 1917.

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.

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.

Along with the text of the secret, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published a theological commentary,[13] in which he states that:

“A careful reading of the text of the so-called third ‘secret’ of Fatima … will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled.”

After explaining the differences between public and private revelations, he cautions people not to see in the message a determined future event:

“The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.”

He then moves on to talk about the symbolic nature of the images, noting that:

“The concluding part of the ‘secret’ uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.”

As for the meaning of the message:

“What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the ‘secret’: the exhortation to prayer as the path of ‘salvation for souls’ and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.”

Third Secret controversy

The Vatican withheld the Third Secret until 26 June 2000, despite Lúcia’s declaration that it should be released to the public after 1960. Some sources, including Canon Barthas and Cardinal Ottaviani, said that Lúcia insisted to them it must be released by 1960, saying that, “by that time, it will be more clearly understood”, and, “because the Blessed Virgin wishes it so.”[14][15] When 1960 arrived, rather than releasing the Third Secret, the Vatican published an official press release stating that it was “most probable the Secret would remain, forever, under absolute seal.”[16] After this announcement, immense speculation over the content of the secret materialized. According to the New York Times, speculation over the content of the secret ranged from “worldwide nuclear annihilation to deep rifts in the Roman Catholic Church that lead to rival papacies.”[17]

The release of the text sparked immediate criticism, even outrage, from the Catholic Church in Portugal. Clergy as well as laypeople had been outraged that the text had been read in Rome and not at the Fatima shrine in Portugal where the reported events took place. Portuguese Catholics responded to the release of the text with disbelief, saying that if the words did not concern some kind of terrible catastrophe such as war, holocaust or apocalypse, there had been no reason for the Vatican to keep them secret. The London Times for June 29, 2000, reported that “The revelation on Monday that there were no doomsday predictions has provoked angry reactions from the Portuguese church over the decision to keep the prophecy secret for half a century.” Portuguese newspapers reported that many people felt “dismayed, cheated, and betrayed” by the news.

Some sources claim that the four-page, handwritten text[9] of the Third Secret released by the Vatican in the year 2000 is not the real secret, or at least not the full secret.[18][19][20][21] In particular, it is alleged that Cardinals Bertone, Ratzinger and Sodano engaged in a systematic deception to cover up the existence of a one-page document containing the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which some believe contains information about the Apocalypse and a great apostasy. These sources contend that the Third Secret is actually composed of two texts, where one of these texts is the published four-page vision, and the other is a single-page letter allegedly containing the words of the Virgin Mary which has been concealed.[18][19][20]

Critics such as Italian journalist Antonio Socci and attorney Christopher Ferrara have written many articles disputing that the full Third Secret has been released. Their argument that there’s proof of a second part to the secret include the following:

Bishops working with Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI have commented that the text was written on one sheet of paper rather than four sheets;

Lucia stated that she wrote the message in the form of a signed letter to the Bishop of Leiria;

Lucia’s text contains words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary;

The full secret contains information about the Apocalypse, a great apostasy, and Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church.

Written on one sheet of paper:

The text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican is handwritten on four sheets of paper.[9] Multiple clerics claiming familiarity with the authentic text have stated that the Third Secret was written on a single sheet of paper rather than four sheets[22]. For example, Father Joaquin Alonso, official Fatima archivist for sixteen years, reports in his book that, “Lucy tells us that she wrote it on a sheet of paper. Cardinal Ottaviani, who has read it, tells us the same thing: ‘She wrote it on a sheet of paper’ …”.[23] In addition, Bishop Venancio, who was entrusted to transport the envelope containing the Third Secret to a Vatican representative after Lucy wrote it down, is reported to have held the envelope up to a light and noted that the Third Secret was “written on a small sheet of paper.” [24][25] Bishop Venancio also measured the dimensions of the paper, the size of its margins, and estimated there to be 20-25 lines of text.[26] Also, Father Malachi Martin stated that he was shown the text of the Third Secret in February, 1960.[27] On a syndicated radio broadcast, Fr. Martin indicated that the Third Secret was written on “one sheet of paper.”[27] In a taped interview, Fr. Charles Fiore quoted Fr. Malachi Martin as saying the following regarding the text of the Third Secret: “I cooled my heels in the corridor outside the Holy Father’s apartments, while my boss, Cardinal Bea, was inside debating with the Holy Father, and with a group of other bishops and priests, and two young Portuguese seminarians, who translated the letter, a single page, written in Portuguese, for all those in the room.”[28]

Written in the form of a letter:

Another reason why critics argue the full Third Secret has not been released is because of documented evidence that the Third Secret was written in the form of a signed letter to the Bishop of Leiria. The text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican is not written in the form of a letter.[9] Lucia was interviewed by Father Jongen on 3 February 1946.[15][29] When Fr. Jongen asked Lucia when the time would arrive for the Third Secret, Lucia responded, “I communicated the third part in a letter to the Bishop of Leiria.” Also, Canon Galamba, an advisor to the Bishop of Leiria, is quoted as saying, “When the bishop refused to open the letter, Lucy made him promise that it would definitely be opened and read to the world either at her death or in 1960, whichever came first.”[15][30] Also, the Vatican press release from 1960 announcing that the Third Secret would probably never be revealed was written with the following words: “… it is most likely that the letter will never be opened, in which Sister Lucy wrote down the words which Our Lady confided as a secret to the three shepherds of the Cova da Iria.”[31]
Contains words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary: The text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican contains no words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[9] According to the 1960 Vatican press release on the Third Secret cited above, “Sister Lucy wrote down the words which Our Lady confided as a secret …”.[31] Some sources assert that the Third Secret most likely begins with the words, “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc”, words which Lucia included in her Fourth Memoir, but which are included only as a footnote to the text released by the Vatican.[32] In addition, evidence shows that Fr. Joseph Schweigl was sent by Pope Pius XII to interrogate Lucia about the Third Secret on 2 September 1952.[33][34] The day after the interview, Fr. Schweigl is reported to have stated the following: “I cannot reveal anything of what I learned at Fatima concerning the Third Secret, but I can say that it has two parts: one concerns the Pope; the other logically (although I must say nothing) would have to be the continuation of the words: ‘In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved’.”[33][34][35]

Cardinal Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — Contains information about the Apocalypse, a great apostasy, and Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church:

According to Cardinal Ratzinger in the commentary accompanying the text[9] of the Third Secret released by the Vatican, “Those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed. Fatima does not satisfy our curiosity in this way …”.[9] Some critics see this as contradicting a considerable amount of evidence in the record, including previous testimony by Cardinal Ratzinger himself.[20][36][37] In an interview published in the 11 November 1984 edition of Jesus Magazine, Cardinal Ratzinger was asked whether he had read the text of the Third Secret and why it had not been revealed.[38][39] Ratzinger acknowledged that he had read the Third Secret, and stated in part that the Third Secret involves the “importance of the novissimi“(end times), and “dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore (the life) of the world.” Ratzinger also commented that, “If it is not made public – at least for the time being – it is in order to prevent religious prophecy from being mistaken for a quest for the sensational.”[39] Also, a news article quoted former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican, Howard Dee, as saying that Cardinal Ratzinger had personally confirmed to him that the messages of Akita and Fatima are “essentially the same.”[40] The Akita prophecy, in part, contains the following: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”[41][42]

Father Malachi Martin — author of Windswept House, a book discussing the Third Secret, Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church, and the approach of apocalyptic events.[43]

Father Charles Fiore, in a taped interview, made the following remarks with regard to Cardinal Ratzinger’s various statements about the Third Secret: “We have two different Cardinal Ratzingers; we have two different messages. But Malachi [Martin] was consistent all the way through; he believed that the Third Secret of Fatima had to do […] with the internal problems of the Catholic Church.”[28] On a syndicated radio broadcast, Father Malachi Martin was asked the following question by a caller: “I had a Jesuit priest tell me more of the Third Secret of Fatima years ago, in Perth. He said, among other things, the last pope would be under control of Satan… Any comment on that?” Fr. Martin responded, “Yes, it sounds as if they were reading, or being told, the text of the Third Secret. But it’s sufficiently vague to make one hesitate— it sounds like it.”[27] In a taped interview with Bernard Janzen, Fr. Martin was asked the following question: “Who are the people who are working so hard to suppress Fatima?” Fr. Martin responded, “A bunch, a whole bunch, of Catholic prelates in Rome, who belong to Satan. They’re servants of Satan. And the servants of Satan outside the Church, in various organizations; they want to destroy the Catholicism of the Church, and keep it as a stabilizing factor in human affairs. It’s an alliance. A dirty alliance, a filthy alliance, but a very good alliance.”[44] In the same interview, Fr. Martin also said with respect to Lucia that, “They’ve (The Vatican) published forged letters in her name; they’ve made her say things she didn’t want to say. They put statements on her lips she never made.”

On 13 May 2000, Cardinal Sodano announced that the Third Secret would be released, during which he implied the secret was about the persecution of Christians in the 20th century that culminated in the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981.[11] However, other theologians believe that the secret concerns an apostasy of cardinals, bishops and priests. For instance, Cardinal Ciappi, personal theologian to Pope John Paul II, is quoted by sources as saying, “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”[45] In addition, on a syndicated radio broadcast, Fr. Malachi Martin stated that the Third Secret “doesn’t make any sense unless we accept that there will be, or that there is in progress, a wholesale apostasy amongst clerics, and laity in the Catholic Church …”.[46]

In a 1980 interview for the German magazine Stimme des Glaubens published in October 1981, John Paul II was asked explicitly to speak about the third secret. He said: “Because of the seriousness of its contents, in order not to encourage the world wide power of Communism to carry out certain coups, my predecessors in the chair of Peter have diplomatically preferred to withhold its publication. On the other hand, it should be sufficient for all Christians to know this much: if there is a message in which it is said that the oceans will flood entire sections of the earth; that, from one moment to the other, millions of people will perish… there is no longer any point in really wanting to publish this secret message. Many want to know merely out of curiosity, or because of their taste for sensationalism, but they forget that ‘to know’ implies for them a responsibility. It is dangerous to want to satisfy one’s curiosity only, if one is convinced that we can do nothing against a catastrophe that has been predicted.” He held up his rosary and stated “Here is the remedy against this evil. Pray, pray and ask for nothing else. Put everything in the hands of the Mother of God.” Asked what would happen in the Church, he said: “We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-to-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong, we must prepare ourselves, we must entrust ourselves to Christ and to His holy Mother, and we must be -attentive, very attentive, to the prayer of the Rosary.”[47]

Lucia herself is reported to have explicitly stated that the Third Secret contains Apocalyptic content. According to one source, when Lucia was asked about the Third Secret, she said it was “in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse”, and at one point she had even specified Apocalypse chapters 8 to 13, a range that includes Apocalypse 12:4, the chapter and verse cited by Pope John Paul II in his homily in Fatima on 13 May 2000.[48]

Cardinal Bertone’s response to criticism

The Vatican has maintained its position that the full text of the Third Secret was published in June 2000. A report from the Zenit Daily Dispatch dated 20 December 2001, based on a Vatican press release, claimed that Lucia told then Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, in an interview conducted the previous month, that the secret has been completely revealed and published, and that no secrets remain.[49] Bertone, along with Cardinal Ratzinger, co-authored the The Message of Fatima[9], the document published in June 2000 by the Vatican that allegedly contains a scanned copy of the original text of the Third Secret.

Bertone, who was elevated to Cardinal in 2003 and currently holds the position of Vatican Secretary of State, wrote a book titled, The Last Secret of Fatima, published first in Italian under a different title in 2007, and then subsequently in English.[50] The book contains a transcribed interview between journalist Giuseppe De Carli and Bertone in which Bertone responds to various criticisms and accusations regarding the content and disclosure of the Third Secret. At one point in the interview, De Carli comments on an unsourced accusation that the Vatican is concealing a one-page text of the Third Secret which predicts a great apostasy where Rome will “lose the faith and become the throne of the Antichrist.” Bertone responds as follows:

“That’s absolutely crazy. Look, are you claiming that the prophecy of Fatima is about the apostasy of the Church of Rome? That Fatima is a prediction of Rome’s transformation into the throne of the Antichrist? Despite the love Our Lady has for the pope and the popes for Our Lady? …Anyone can write books based on conspiracy theories, on biased interpretations. Anybody can take sentences out of context and present them as clues to some supposed plot to avoid divulging the truth and to transmit it in a code that only the initiates can understand. No, the whole theory you allude to is a fabrication. And this supposedly factual account […], is actually the sort of device the Masons used to invent to discredit the Church. I’m surprised that journalists and writers who claim to be Catholic let themselves be taken in.”[51]

At another point in the interview, De Carli mentions that Cardinal Ottaviani had once stated that the Third Secret was written on a single sheet of paper. He also mentions that one of Lucia’s memoirs contains the words, “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved etc”, words which some believe introduce the real Third Secret. After the interviewer interjects his own opinion and calls these observations “feeble bits of evidence that neither prove nor disprove anything”, he asks Cardinal Bertone about the possibility of there being two texts, where the “first document” contains the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the other contains the description of the vision published by the Vatican. Bertone answers in part, “There is no first document. There never was any such text in the archives of the Holy Office.” Bertone also says, “So I’m not sure what Cardinal Ottaviani was talking about.” Bertone also states that, “[W]e have the word, better, the official confirmation of Sra. Lucia: ‘Is this the Third Secret, and is this the only text of it?’ ‘Yes, this is the Third Secret, and I never wrote any other’.”[52]

Later on in the interview, Bertone again addresses the question as to whether a text exists with words attributed to the Blessed Virgin that was censored: “The part of the text where the Virgin speaks in the first person wasn’t censored, for the simple reason that it never existed. …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.”[53]

Continuing criticism and controversy

Cardinal Bertone has been accused of lying about the content of the Third Secret in his book, The Last Secret of Fatima,[50] and also in televised appearances.[19][54] After Bertone’s book was published, Italian journalist Antonio Socci published an article titled “Dear Cardinal Bertone: Who—between you and me—is Deliberately Lying?”[54] Catholic attorney Christopher Ferrara wrote an entire book called The Secret Still Hidden (content available online) aimed at exposing and debunking the claims of Cardinal Bertone with respect to Fatima.[19] The book contains an appendix entitled 101 Grounds for Doubting Cardinal Bertone’s Account. For example, Ferrara asserts that Bertone has given at least five different versions of Lucia’s alleged acceptance of the interpretation of the vision published by the Vatican in 2000.[55]

An article published in Catholic World News on 27 September 2007 reports that Italian journalists Antonio Socci and Solideo Paolini “produced a tape recording in which Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who once served as private secretary to Pope John XXIII, revealed that there were two texts of the Third Secret.”[56] An article dated just two weeks earlier quotes Archbishop Capovilla as saying, “There are not two truths from Fatima and nor is there any fourth secret. The text which I read in 1959 is the same that was distributed by the Vatican.” Capovilla is also quoted as saying, “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.”[57]

Pope John Paul I

The Catholic Counter-Reformation group, founded by heretic theologian Abbe George de Nantes, takes the position that the released text is the complete Third Secret, but refers to Pope John Paul I rather than John Paul II, pointing out that the latter, after all, did not die, while the bishop in the Third Secret did.[58] John Paul I had met Lucia Santos while he was Patriarch of Venice, and was deeply moved by the experience. In a letter to a colleague after his election, he vowed to perform the Consecration of Russia which Lucia said Mary had asked for.[59]


1 Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L., Encountering Mary (1991), pg. 199
2 Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L., Encountering Mary (1991), pg. 203
3 Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L., Encountering Mary (1991), pg. 204
4 Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L., Encountering Mary (1991), pgs. 208-209.
5 Santos, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words I (2003), pg. 123.
6 Santos, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words I (2003), pgs. 123-124.
7 Nickell, Joe. Looking for a Miracle (1998), pg. 179.
8 [1]
9 a b c d e f g h “The Message of Fatima” from the Vatican
10 Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L., Encountering Mary (1991), pgs. 203-206.
11 a b Address of Cardinal Sodano Regarding the “Third Part” of the Secret of Fatima at the Conclusion of the Solemn Mass, 13 May 2000
12 “The Message of Fatima” from the Vatican. See also Santos, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words I (2003), pg. 215.
13 “The Message of Fatima” from the Vatican. See also Santos, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words I (2003), pgs. 221-233.
14 Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). pp. 29–30. (Book readable online).
15 a b c Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. p. 470.
16 Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. pp. 578–579.
17 Vatican Discloses the ‘Third Secret’ of Fatima, New York Times, May 14th, 2000.
18 a b Kramer, Father Paul (2002). The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). Good Counsel Publications Inc.. (Content available for free online —click book title). ISBN 978-0966304657.
19 a b c d Ferrara, Christopher (2008). The Secret Still Hidden. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. (Content available for free online). ISBN 978-0981535708.
20 a b c Socci, Antonio (2009). The Fourth Secret of Fatima. Italy.
21 Tosatti, Marco (2002). Il Segreto Non Svelato (“The Unrevealed Secret“—Italian only). ISBN 9788838445521.
22 Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). pp. 27–29. (Content available for free online).
23 Alonso, Father Joaquin (1976). La Verdad sobre el Secreto de Fatima. Spain. p. 60.
24 Frère François de Marie des Anges (1994). Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph. New York, U.S.A.. p. 45.
25 Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. p. 481.
26 Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. p. 626.
27 a b c Father Malachi Martin on Coast to Coast AM, with interviewer Art Bell. July 13, 1998.
28 a b Doran, Brian (11 August 2000), Malachi Martin: God’s Messenger — In the Words of Those Who Knew Him Best, Audio Cassette, ISBN 1885692080
29 Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). p. 29. (Content available for free online).
30 Alonso, Father Joaquin (1976). La Verdad sobre el Secreto de Fatima. Spain. pp. 46–47.
31 a b Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). p. 30. (Content available for free online).
32 Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). p. 31. (Content available for free online).
33 a b Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. p. 710.
34 a b Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). p. 150. (Content available for free online).
35 The Secret Still Hidden by Italian journalist Antonio Socci (Good Counsel, 2000), entire text online, found 2010-05-14.
36 Kramer, Father Paul (2002). The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). Good Counsel Publications Inc.. p. 285. (Content available for free online). ISBN 978-0966304657.
37 Vennari, John (January 2007). “The Fourth Secret of Fatima – Mainstream Italian Author Argues Third Secret of Fatima Not Entirely Revealed”. Catholic Family News.
38 Jesus Magazine. November 11, 1984. (Original Article in Italian) p. 79.
39 a b Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima – Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. pp. 822–823.
40 “Full Text of the Third Secret Revealed”, Catholic World News, October 11, 2001
41 “SR. AGNES SASAGAWA – Message of Akita”, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)
42 Haffert, John M. (July 1, 1989). The Meaning of Akita. One Hundred One Foundation, Incorporated. p. 8. ISBN 1890137057.
43 Martin, Malachi (1998). Windswept House. Main Street Books.
Note: Although Windswept House is classified as fiction, it is a special type known as roman à clef, meaning that the fiction is really a facade and the book is fact-based (but written to read like fiction). Martin said that most of the characters are real people and 85% of the events are real. It is available at Amazon.
44 Father Malachi Martin interviewed by Bernard Janzen, Deserted Vineyard (Tape 3)
45 Kramer, Father Paul. The Devil’s Final Battle (1st Edition). pp. 30. (Content available for free online) — citing the following article: Father Gerard Mura, “The Third Secret of Fatima: Has It Been Completely Revealed?”, the periodical Catholic, (published by the Transalpine Redemptorists, Orkney Isles, Scotland, Great Britain) March 2002.
46 Father Malachi Martin on Coast to Coast AM, with interviewer Art Bell. 04 May 1998.
47 English translation from Daniel J. Lynch, The Call to Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (St. Albans, Vermont: Missions of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pub., 1991), pp. 50-51.
48 Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite (1990). The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III. Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.. p. 533.
49 No More Fatima Secrets
50 a b Bertone, Tarcisio (May 6, 2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. ISBN 0385525826.
51 Bertone, Tarcisio (May 6, 2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. pp. 65–66.
52 Bertone, Tarcisio (May 6, 2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. pp. 63–64.
53 Bertone, Tarcisio (May 6, 2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. p. 66.
54 a b Socci, Antonio, “Who Between — You and Me — is Deliberately Lying?”
55 Ferrara, Christopher (2008). The Secret Still Hidden. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. p. 149. (Content of book available online for free).
56 “Italian Journalists Protest Exclusion from Fatima Discussion”. Catholic World News. September 27, 2007.
57 “Last Surviving Witness Says Third Fatima Secret is Fully Revealed”. Catholic News Agency. 12 September 2007.
58 Whole Truth About Fatima, Chapter 4 from the CCR website, chapters 7, 8 and 9, page found 2010-04-30.
59 The letter is quoted in Camillo Bassotto’s biography of John Paul I, My Heart Is Still in Venice (Krinon, 1990), p. 113.

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)

Note: Pilgrimage with special meetings inside the Vatican. We are now beginning to take preliminary requests for our Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 pilgrimages, which will include visits to Assisi, Norcia, Rome and the Vatican. If you would like information about these trips, email us at:
Best-Seller: A Talk by Dr. Robert Moynihan about the “Old Mass” on CD

Unexpectedly, this little talk has become a minor “best-seller.”

We have now produced more than 5,000 of these CDs, and they are still running out every few days. Why?
Evidently, people really like this talk!
It is called: “The Motu Proprio: Why the Latin Mass? Why Now?”

In this talk, Dr. Moynihan gives a 2,000-year history of the Mass in 60 minutes which is clear and easy to understand. The talk covers questions like:

— Does the motu proprio overcome some of the liturgical confusion since Vatican II?
— Who was Annibale Bugnini?

— The mind of Pope Benedict: How can the Church restore the sense of the presence of God in the liturgy?

Special note: Three years ago, we participated in a concert in Rome (on March 29, 2007) in which a Russian choir and orchestra, flying in from Moscow, performed a new version of The Passion According to St. Matthew composed a few months before by the young Russian Orthodox bishop (now Metropolitan and “foreign minister” of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion Alfeyev).
That moving concert, in which one or two of the exhausted women singers fainted on stage and had to be carried off, was broadcast live worldwide via a Vatican Television Center feed by EWTN.
No DVD or CD was ever made of that concert — until a few days ago. After nearly three years, we have finally produced the DVD and CD of that historic concert, and they are now available for sale.
I believe the sound of this music, and the sight of the performance, especially during Holy Week, when we recall Christ’s Passion, will bring tears to your eyes.
The DVD and CD of this historic concert are now available on at website at the following link:
Other Gift Ideas:

Christmas Oratorio (Russian Concert) on DVD 

On December 17, 2007, a leading Russian orchestra performed an exceptional “world premiere” concert of Russian Christmas music at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Now you can order your copy of the concert on DVD, which includes English sub-titles.

The music is a completely new composition by a young Russian Orthodox Archbishop, Hilarion Alfeyev, 43. At the time, he was the Russian Orthodox bishop for all of central Europe, based in Vienna, Austria. He is now a Metropolitan and the head of the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Makes a wonderful gift. Order one for yourself, one for a loved one and one for a friend… at three copies, the price is less! Click here to order
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