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Dollingergate: That Curious Vatican Denial

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 27, 2016

This column has been on hiatus over the past two weeks as I joined the Remnant’s team on the annual pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres – this year involving some 20,000 traditional Catholics whose average age must be in the low 20s.

While I was away another Fatima bombshell exploded. The blog site One Peter 5 (1P5) obtained confirmation by telephone from the German priest-theologian Fr. Ingo Dollinger of what The Fatima Center reported back in 2009 concerning the Third Secret: that then-Cardinal Ratzinger told Father Dollinger, a close personal friend, that in the Secret the Blessed Virgin warns of a wayward council and ruinous changes to the Mass. As 1P5 reported on May 15:

Today, on the Feast of Pentecost, I called Fr. Ingo Dollinger, a German priest and former professor of theology in Brasil who is now quite elderly and physically weak. He has been a personal friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for many years. Father Dollinger unexpectedly confirmed over the phone the following facts:

Not long after the June 2000 publication of the Third Secret of Fatima by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Fr. Dollinger during an in-person conversation that there is still a part of the Third Secret that they have not published! “There is more than what we published,” Ratzinger said. He also told Dollinger that the published part of the Secret is authentic and that the unpublished part of the Secret speaks about “a bad council and a bad Mass” that was to come in the near future.

Now, as a matter of policy the Vatican bureaucracy ignores critical commentary about its doings in the Catholic blogosphere, treating its critics as if they do not exist.   The same was true when The Fatima Center originally reported Fr. Dollinger’s revelations. But Fr. Dollinger’s direct, personal confirmation of The Fatima Center’s earlier account of his statements by telephone could not be ignored.  The response came six days later in the form of an unsigned, anonymous communiqué from the Vatican Press Office:

Communiqué: on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima”

Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima (which took place in June 2000), had confided to him that the publication was not complete.

In this regard, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares “never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima”, clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter “are pure inventions, absolutely untrue”, and he confirms decisively that “the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete”.

In response to the communiqué, 1P5’s reporter, a native German speaker, “telephoned Father Dollinger with the news of the Vatican statement, and at that time he again confirmed to her emphatically and clearly his previous remarks. In other words, he stood by his story.”

Given these facts, the anonymous communiqué leaks water from every part, to use an Italian saying.  Consider:

First, there is no indication the Vatican contacted Fr. Dollinger to obtain a denial from him that he said the things the Press Office claims were falsely “attributed” to him. That omission speaks volumes: the Press Office made no such effort because it knows or at least suspects that Fr. Dollinger did indeed say what 1P5 reported and it did not wish to be confronted with his confirmation of the story, which the Press Office could not very well hide.

Second, the Vatican has gone very far out on a very thin limb when it declares flatly that Benedict claims “never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima.”  Really?  Never?  Not at any time?  Not a single word ever passed between the former Cardinal Ratzinger and his close friend Fr. Dollinger on the subject of Fatima?  That claim does not pass the smell test.

Third, the Press Office’s assertion that Benedict called Fr. Dollinger’s statements on the matter “pure inventions, absolutely untrue” necessarily involves the accusation that Fr. Dollinger is a bald-faced liar who concocted statements the former Cardinal Ratzinger never made, or that the reporter for 1P5 is a liar who concocted the statements.  But, again, no effort was made to obtain a denial from Fr. Dollinger because, no doubt, a denial was not expected. Thus, the Press Office has published a libelous accusation against both Fr. Dollinger and the reporter who related his statements — statements the Press Office made no effort to confirm because it knows or suspects the statements were made.

Fourth, a lawyer could have drafted the Vatican’s carefully worded declaration that Benedict “confirms decisively that ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.’”  Of course the Vatican claims publication is “complete” because it has no intention of publishing anything else respecting the Secret. That is, the text — which must exist — wherein the Virgin explains the meaning of the vision published in 2000, which the Vatican ludicrously insisted that a corrupt Vatican bureaucrat, Cardinal Sodano, would “interpret” for us. The real issue is whether the Vatican has published the complete Secret, not whether the act of publication is complete so far as the Vatican is concerned.  And, to this day, the Vatican has refused squarely to answer the crucial question: Is there a text written by Sister Lucia, whether or not it is deemed “authentic” by certain Vatican personages, in which she recounts the Virgin’s explanation of the vision published in 2000?

Fifth, and finally, the anonymous author of an unsigned communiqué expects us to believe that the cropped phrases he (or she) “attributes” to Benedict are unquestionably true and accurate, whereas the statements 1P5 “attributes” to Fr. Dollinger are pure lies and inventions — including Fr. Dollinger’s confirmation, days ago, that he made the statements!   Really?  I don’t think so.

Has this leaky “denial” ended the matter of Fr. Dollinger’s explosive revelations?  Not by a long shot.  If anything, it confirms panic in the Vatican.  Of course, Benedict could personally appear in public and, in his own unedited words, explicitly deny his friend Fr. Dollinger’s account. But I think we can be certain this will never happen for the same reason no effort was made to obtain such a denial from Fr. Dollinger in the first instance: the Vatican knows the truth of what he revealed.

The saga of the Third Secret of Fatima continues.