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L’Affaire Wielgus and the Third Secret

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Now that Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus has resigned from the position of Archbishop of Warsaw, to which Pope Benedict had elevated him only days before, it is appropriate to ask: Why on earth did the Pope deliberately approve the elevation of a known collaborator with the communists?

Yes, deliberately. For as Wielgus himself admits in his letter of January 6, 2007 to the people of the Archdiocese of Warsaw, he delayed acceptance of his nomination in order to present “my life history to the Holy Father and the appropriate dicasteries of the Holy See, including this part of my past which comprised being entangled in the contacts with the secret services of the past times, operating under the conditions of a totalitarian state, hostile towards the Church.”

They all knew, and the Pope himself knew, that Wielgus has betrayed the Church while so many of his Polish confreres had remained loyal. Yet he was elevated above all the others, without even a confession of guilt. Quite the contrary, as Wielgus admits in the same letter: “I have harmed Her [the Church] again in the recent days when, in the face of a frantic media campaign, I denied the facts of this collaboration.” That is, when the truth came out in the press, he lied about it in order to save his nomination.

And the Vatican defended him in his lies. As attorney and author Robert Miller notes in a piece in First Things (January 9, 2007): “Wielgus denied the allegations, and the Holy See and the Polish bishops backed him up. … In defending Wielgus, the Vatican Press Office stated: ‘The Holy See, in choosing to appoint the new metropolitan archbishop of Warsaw, took into consideration all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past. This means that the Holy See nourishes complete trust in Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus and, in full awareness, has entrusted him with the mission of pastor of the Archdiocese of Warsaw.”

Only when Wielgus’ position became totally untenable did the Vatican finally ask for and accept his resignation — literally hours before his installation as Archbishop.But, as Miller notes, the plot thickens. Miller reports that according to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, “when Archbishop Wielgus was nominated, we did not know anything about his collaboration with the secret service.” Miller writes that “This, of course, flatly contradicts Wielgus’ admission and apology [in his letter of January 6th], which expressly and repeatedly said that Wielgus had fully disclosed his past activities to the Holy Father and the appropriate Vatican dicasteries, which had to include the Congregation for Bishops.’”

But perhaps Miller has missed a subtle reservation here: As Wielgus states in his January 6th letter, he delayed acceptance of his nomination in order to disclose the details of his communist collaboration. Thus, technically speaking, it could be true that at the precise moment of the nomination the Congregation for Bishops did not know all the details. But it did know very soon thereafter, as Wielgus himself reveals. Thus, Archbishop Re is, to put it diplomatically, being rather clever here.

And so it was, we can reasonably assume, with the Third Secret of Fatima. As Antonio Socci concludes in his book “The Fourth Secret of Fatima,” the Vatican evidently decided to “reveal” indirectly in papal sermons the words of the Virgin of Fatima comprising part of the Third Secret. This “revelation” consisted in John Paul II’s linkage of Chapter 12 of the Book of the Apocalypse to the Message of Fatima. Thus the Vatican can now say, technically, that “everything” concerning the Third Secret has been revealed, just as Cardinal Re could say, technically, that nothing was known of Wielgus’ communist past at the precise moment he was nominated.

Such technical evasions are, of course, deceptions that conceal the whole truth. But as l’affaire Wielgus shows us, the Vatican apparatus is quite willing to engage in such deceptions. Here we must remember that the promises of Our Lord concerning the indefectibility of His Church did not extend to the integrity of her individual members, including those who occupy high offices in the Vatican bureaucracy. We have, therefore, every reason to suspect that the Vatican knows more than it is saying concerning the Third Secret of Fatima.