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Why Won’t the Pope
Go to Fatima?

by James W. Bannister, B.A., LL.B.

Curiouser and curiouser! According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Benedict XVI will not travel to Fatima in October 2007 for the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to the three seers.

The reason given for the Holy Father’s surprising nonattendance is that he’s too busy! That’s right ... the Pope has prior engagements! Oh yes, it seems he was “overbooked” and had to cut back on the number of trips he will take this year.

Think about it! The Vicar of Christ, the most powerful man in the world, when he was making up his schedule for 2007 — or considering the schedule drawn up for him by others — somehow forgot about Fatima, the most stunning Heavenly Revelation of the 20th century. Is this possible?!

Imagine Benedict’s consternation, then, when he was reminded of the invitation extended several months ago by the Portuguese bishops. Imagine him saying, “Oh, I’m sorry ... I forgot. I won’t have time this October ... even though it’s still nine months away and I could probably find time if there was a good reason. But it’s OK. I’ll send a special envoy.” Are we to understand that the Holy Father thinks so little of Fatima that he would dismiss it with such a lame excuse?

There may be another deeper, darker reason. I think that His Holiness has in fact been prevented from attending by the anti-Fatima forces — “the smoke of Satan” — in the Vatican, who do not wish Benedict to say or do anything which would call attention to the Message of Fatima, and particularly the Third Secret which beyond doubt speaks of their apostasy and the sorry state of the post-conciliar Church.

Let us not forget that the Pope saw the real Third Secret — not just the portion of it published by the Vatican in June 2000. He knows the truth of its warnings. On November 11, 1984 he said in a published interview that it concerns “the dangers threatening the faith and life of the Christian, and therefore the world. And also the importance of the last times.”

Soon afterward, it became clear that he had been warned by someone — possibly powerful people inside the Vatican itself who are still there today— to tone down his comments. The section of the book The Ratzinger Report published 6 months later containing his comments about Fatima were significantly altered from the original interview. Many of his statements about the Third Secret were either changed or removed entirely.

Clearly someone thought he had said too much. Who could it have been?

Fast forward to 1996 when Cardinal Ratzinger said “I’ve had enough of speaking about that. ... The Secret contains nothing new, it foretells no tragedy for humanity, nothing apocalyptic and nothing essential for the faith.” How far he had come in just 12 years is truly astounding. But did he come willingly, or was he pushed by others to make a 180-degree turn from his previous pronouncements on the subject of the Third Secret of Fatima?

Finally let us consider Cardinal Ratzinger’s theological commentary on what he and Archbishop Bertone offered in June 2000 as “the text of the so-called third ‘secret’”. Reading it, one might think that the Cardinal had changed his mind completely about the meaning and importance of Fatima. But why? Tellingly he says “We must affirm with Cardinal Sodano ... the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past.”

So there you have it. Cardinal Ratzinger swallowed the official Vatican party line ... not just the line but the hook and sinker too. There is an old saying, “If you want to get along, go along.”

Was it Ratzinger’s agreement to “go along with the crowd” which made him acceptable to Cardinal Sodano? (Sodano was by then the real power behind Pope John Paul II’s throne.) Was getting along with Sodano the way in which Cardinal Ratzinger became the establishment choice to succeed John Paul? These are questions to which we may never know the answer.

What is clear is that Ratzinger was elected Pope with the support of the in-crowd. Thus he is apparently in their thrall and can hardly reverse himself yet again. So, rather than attend the 90th anniversary celerations, where he might have to answer very pointed questions about the Third Secret, (especially in the light of the new book by Antonio Socci), the Holy Father will send a minion. How sad. We must as Jesus said, “Pray a great deal for the Holy Father”.