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A Respectful Reply to David Carollo

by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 9, 2015

In my column of June 12 I reported that an English translation of a new biography of Sister Lucia published by the Covent in Coimbra, Um Caminho Sob a Olhar de Maria (A Path Under the Gaze of Mary), falsely translates the following words of Our Lady as recorded by Lucia in one of her unpublished diaries respecting the Third Secret: "está em paz e escreve o que te mandam, não porém o que te é dado entender do seu significado" — "be at peace, and write what I have commanded you, but not, however, that which has been given to you to understand its meaning."

The crucial phrase "that which has been given to you to understand its meaning" clearly refers to what Our Lady of Fatima had conveyed to Lucia concerning the meaning of the vision pertaining to the Third Secret which Lucia committed to paper on January 3, 1944. The Virgin's explanation would have to involve a second distinct text, for it is inconceivable that the Virgin would reveal the vision but then decline ever to provide Her explanation of its obscure contents.

Yet the WAF ("World Apostolate of Fatima") translation replaces the Mother of God's words "but not, however, that which has been given to you to understand its meaning" with the words "but do not give your opinion of its meaning," thereby converting the Virgin's explosive reference to Her own explanation of the vision's meaning to Lucia's mere opinion.

The WAF has responded to my article through its Executive Director, David Carollo. The words of the famous fictional barrister Rumple of the Bailey come to mind: "That's your defense?" Here is what Mr. Carollo wrote:

We used the word "opinion" rather than "understanding." The point is, Sister Lucia understood that the Church was to interpret the meaning of the secret, not her, and she was not to write down any further revelations she may have received. We cannot hide something that Our Lady did not want her to reveal.

As the attentive reader will notice, Mr. Carollo has offered a non-denial. While admitting that WAF replaced the Virgin's word "understanding" with "opinion," WAF continues to pretend that in the phrase quoted above the Mother of God was referring to Sister Lucia's understanding of the vision rather than what the Virgin Herself had given Lucia to be able to understand it.

But Mr. Carollo tries to have it both ways, stating that by order of the Virgin (a) Lucia was not to write down her understanding of the vision, or (b) that Lucia was not to write down the Virgin's "further revelations" concerning the vision. Well, which is it? Version (a) simply repeats the falsification of what the Virgin actually said, whereas version (b) admits there were indeed "further revelations" concerning the Secret.

As to these "further revelations," which clearly exist as the Virgin's correctly translated words reveal, the Mother of God would hardly have given a direction that Lucia must never reveal what had been given to her to understand the vision's meaning. If that were the case, what would be the point of the vision — to confuse us and lead to endless debates over its interpretation? The suggestion is preposterous. The only reasonable conclusion is that Lucia was not to write down the "further revelations" at that time but rather in a later separate and distinct text — precisely as the so-called "Fatimists," including the late Father Gruner, have maintained all along.

Mr. Carollo continues with his non-denial: "The World Apostolate of Fatima, USA conferred with both the Fatima Shrine in Portugal and the postulator for Sister Lucia's cause about the translation." Yes, and what was the result? Mr. Carollo has nothing to say. Rather, he adds, quite irrelevantly, that "[t]he Sisters of Coimbra have submitted all documents related to the cause — including 11,000 letters — and all of Sister Lucia's private notes and oral narrations to them are now published in the biography. There is nothing more to be revealed, and nothing has been hidden."

I am sorry but that just doesn't wash. First of all, the Virgin referred to "that which has been given to you to understand its [the vision's] meaning." It is inconceivable that the Virgin would direct that Her own precious explanation of the meaning of the vision published on June 26, 2000 be hidden forever and that we should have to rely instead on the likes of Cardinal Sodano for a patently ridiculous "interpretation" which claims that the vision's enigmatic depiction of a future Pope being executed by a band of soldiers outside a ruined city means John Paul II not being killed by a lone assassin in the intact city of Rome.

Secondly, as I noted in my column of April 10, the Fatima scholar Solideo Paolini, in the wake of the new biography's revelations, wrote to the Convent in Coimbra to ask whether there is among Sister Lucia's documents a text which explains the meaning of the vision in the Virgin's own words. He received the reply that "it is not possible for now to consult the documents you request. In its time, everything will be published." So, contrary to Mr. Carollo's representation, not everything has been published. Yet again, denials regarding the existence of a text related to the vision and completing the integral Secret are negated by the emergence of new information. The cover-up can never quite succeed in tying up such loose ends.

Finally, Mr. Carollo takes exception to my claim that WAF, when it was still the Blue Army, "surrendered to the Vatican Secretary of State" back in the 1980s. The evidence I present in Chapter 4 of my book demonstrates that what is now the WAF publicly declared when it was still the Blue Army that the Consecration of Russia was no longer to be made a public issue lest the diplomatic efforts of the Holy See be impeded — as if the Virgin Most Prudent were diplomatically inept. Now to be added to that evidence is an obvious manipulation of the words of the Blessed Virgin in order to defuse an explosive new revelation from the Convent in Coimbra — a manipulation for which Mr. Carollo offers no real explanation but only evasions.

I agree with Mr. Carollo that the Message of Fatima is a message "we need to bring to the world, which so desperately and urgently needs to hear it." But we need to hear the whole message, including that part of the Third Secret yet to be revealed. The World Apostolate of Fatima owes its supporters and the Church, and Heaven itself, an accurate translation of what the Virgin said to Lucia about the meaning of the ambiguous vision whose "interpretation" continues to arouse controversy and division in the Church, nearly a century after the Virgin confided it to the three seers in the Cova da Iria.