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The Party Line

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On October 9th 2001 in Rome, I had the novel experience of participating (with Fathers Gruner and Kramer) in a debate on the Message of Fatima which took place on a radio call-in show broadcast from Rome's Cassia section. Our opponents---and that is what they were---were two "Vaticanisti", that is, journalists who make their living reporting on events at the Vatican.

Now, a Vaticanist is not likely to be a Vaticanist much longer if he criticizes the Party Line of Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State. Any Vaticanist who did that would find the doors of Vatican offices slamming shut in his face the next day. This much was confessed to me by a very prominent Vaticanist who came here from America to establish a Vatican-oriented publication.

Thus, it was no surprise that the two Vaticanists who squared off against us on the talk show vigorously defended the Sodano Party Line on Fatima: Fatima is "linked to the past," is how they put it. The past, the past, the past. Fatima is in the past. That is the mantra they recite in deference to the man who, quite literally, holds their careers in his hands. This is the same man who, with a straight face, tells us that a bishop in white being shot dead by a band of soldiers signifies John Paul II not being shot dead by a lone civilian assassin.

The Vaticanists rather smugly accused Father Gruner of having a "morbid curiosity" about the Third Secret and of attempting to instill "panic" in the people by suggesting that the terrorist attack on America is a harbinger of what Our Lady Herself warned would be the consequence of a failure to heed Her request for the consecration of Russia: "various nations will be annihilated."

But the twin Vaticanists overlooked rather a conspicuous fact, which perhaps is not so evident in the Vatican corridors and fine restaurants where the Vaticanisti ply their trade: the people are already in a panic, because the terrorist attack of September 11 demonstrated a terrifying truth which has shattered their sense of complacency forever. Quite simply, the world is now suddenly aware that there a hundred ways to kill thousands of people in an instant if one is willing to kill himself as well; and there are thousands of Muslim terrorists willing to kill themselves for the glory of Allah.

So while the Vaticanisti prate on about "morbid" curiosity and Fatima being "linked to the past," Catholics who are not beholden to Cardinal Sodano can see in recent events proof beyond doubt that the Message of Fatima is anything but a dead letter. What is needed, in fact, is a great deal more "curiosity" about the import of the Message for the current rapidly degenerating state of the world. What is not needed is the smugness and blindness of the Vaticanisti, who despite all the evidence of our senses wish us to believe that all is well, that Fatima is finished.