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Pope Benedict "Reopens the File"
on the Third Secret of Fatima

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 24, 2010

Within days after the Fatima Challenge conference (someone at the Vatican was indeed watching, as the conference website monitoring data indicate) none other than Pope Benedict XVI clearly, calmly, and deliberately reopened the entire Third Secret controversy. He did so by demolishing the Sodano/Bertone "interpretation" of the vision of the "Bishop dressed in White" as involving nothing more than 20th century events, including the 1981 assassination attempt, which "belong to the past." A few points are in order:

First of all, during the Pope's flight to Portugal to make 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. It is critical to note that questions for the plane trip are submitted several days in advance, so that the Pope has ample time to consider his remarks, and in fact chooses the questions he will answer. Thus, the Pope went out of his way to bring up the Third Secret of Fatima, ten years after the subject was supposedly laid to rest by Sodano/Bertone. Here is the 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.

Secondly, in his homily at the Mass to commemorate the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition on May 13, the Pope declared: "One would be deceived who thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded." ("Si illuderebbe chi pensasse che la missione profetica di Fatima sia conclusa.") I suppose it is typical of Vatican bureaucratic maneuvering that the English translation of the homily neuters the Pope's words to read: "We would be mistaken to think that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded." No, the Pope said that one who thinks this would be deceived, not merely "mistaken," and he referred to particular individuals, not "we" in general.

So much for the Sodano/Bertone "interpretation" of the vision as belonging "to the past." It now joins other pseudo-official pronouncements in the discard bin of the post-Vatican II era in the Church. The Pope has completely repudiated his own adherence to the "party line" dictated by the Secretary of State, which he followed as the former Cardinal Ratzinger, whose theological commentary on the vision declared that "we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: '... the events to which the third part of the 'secret' of Fatima … belong to the past."

Thirdly, the vision of the "Bishop dressed in White" does not in any way depict activities by internal enemies of the Church who are sinners. Quite the contrary, it depicts the execution of a future Pope and members of the hierarchy who are martyrs, not sinners, by clearly external enemies in the form of a band of soldiers. Hence the Pope has to be referring to something that goes beyond the text of the vision standing alone.

Indeed, only one thing could harmonize the vision, with its depiction of external persecution, with an internal subversion/persecution of the Church: 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, accompanied by a chastisement of the whole world, as the half-ruined city filled with bodies would indicate. Here I note that at the Fatima Challenge conference the Vaticanist Giuseppe De Carli, a collaborator with Cardinal Bertone in the now-discredited "official version," referred to the bodies seen in the vision as carbonizzati — charred! Where did he acquire that alarming detail?

Rejoicing in this victory for the truth, Antonio Socci writes that the Pope "is engaged in a great Operation Truth on Fatima, at the cost of contradicting the version of the Secretaries of State." Socci relates Benedict's declarations to the 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 prophecy" 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 this "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)."

Socci is right to say that the Pope 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, he continues, "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. But then, what else could one expect, given that the Message of Fatima in general and the Third Secret in particular were consigned to the Church by the Mother of God on the authority of Her divine Son? Given its divine origin, the prophetic mission of Fatima — which continues, as our Pope declares — will be accomplished, no matter what plans mere men may have to the contrary.