Press communiqué says Pope Emeritus Benedict has confirmed that “the publication… is complete”

An aging German priest who evidently has been a long-time friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Fr. Ingo Dollinger (photo), was in mid-May thrust into the middle of a new controversy over the Third Secret of Fatima which led to an unusual Vatican reaction. Dollinger was ordained in 1954 and served as secretary of the well-respected bishop of Augsburg, Josef Stimpfle, and is now past 80. In mid-May, he told a journalist that he believes, on the basis of conversations more than a decade ago with then-Cardinal Jos­eph Ratzinger, that the “Third Secret” of Fatima has not yet been published in its entirety, despite assurances from Vatican officials that the complete text was published in the year 2000.


Fr. Ingo Dollinger

The “Third Secret” was entrusted to the Fatima seer Sister Lucia, who died in 2005. Lucia said she was told in various visions that the Pope should reveal the “Third Secret” no later than 1960. But Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and other Popes decided not to reveal the text(s) until 2000, during the pontificate of St. John Paul II (1978-2005).

Dr. Maike Hickson reported on May 15 on the website that Fr. Dollinger, in a mid-May telephone interview, had told her that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had told him, during a private conversation after the 2000 publication of the “Third Secret,” that part of the secret had not been published. “There is more than what we published,” Fr. Dollinger said Ratzinger told him.

Ratzinger allegedly also told him that, though the published part of the secret was authentic, the unpublished part mentions a “bad Council and a bad Mass” that was to afflict the Church in the near future, Dollinger told Hickson. (News of Dollinger’s alleged conversation with Cardinal Ratzinger has circulated in Catholic circles since 2009, when an account of the conversation by Fr. Paul Kramer appeared in Fatima Crusader.)

What is unusual — in fact, unprecedented — is that the story did not die quietly but took on new life when the Vatican Press Office on May 21 issued a remarkable denial, using direct quotes attributed to Pope Emeritus Benedict. Here is the text of that denial:


The three Portuguese shepherd children to whom the Virgin appeared in Fatima in 1917, and a hand-written page from the diary of Sr. Lucia (the girl on the right)

Communiqué: On Various Articles Regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima”

Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima (which took place in June 2000), had confided to him that the publication was not complete.

In this regard, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI declares “never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima,” clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter “are pure inventions, absolutely untrue,” and he confirms decisively that “the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.”

Dr. Hickson, a native German speaker, says she contacted Dollinger again after the Vatican denial. Dollinger re-confirmed his conversation with then-Cardinal Ratz­inger.

Commentators on this controversy note two things in particular: (1) it is highly unusual (in fact, unprecedented) for the Vatican to issue a statement quoting Emeritus Pope Benedict on any matter; this suggests that someone in authority considers this matter of considerable importance; and (2) although the “publication” of the Third Secret of Fatima may be “complete” as the Vatican communiqué states, to state this is not exactly the same thing as to say there is no more text that could be published.

Pope Benedict himself declared in Fatima on May 13, 2010: “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete… Man­kind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In Sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man, and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: ‘Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?’ (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162)… May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”

The Catholic philosopher Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has confirmed that in 1965, she, along with her theologian-husband Dietrich von Hildebrand, were told in a conversation with Msgr. Mario Boehm, an editor at the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, that the Third Secret of Fatima was not revealed in 1960 “because of its content,” which included passages referring to the “infiltration of the Church at the very top” — passages that do not appear in the version of the secret published in 2000.

Pope Benedict said on his flight to Portugal on May 11, 2010, discussing the “Third Secret” and its meaning: “I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident.”

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