The Third Secret Revealed!
I cannot linger here on a still mysterious episode in the history of the Third Secret: In 1957, the Holy Office demanded the text of it, kept until then at the palace of the Bishop of Leiria/Fatima. Who took this initiative? With what intention? A detailed analysis of the facts have enabled me to formulate a plausible hypothesis but I have not arrived at any certitude.
In mid March, 1957, Bishop da Silva entrusted his Auxiliary Bishop Venancio with the responsibility of delivering the precious document to Bishop Cento, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lisbon at that time. Bishop Venancio implored his bishop to finally read the Secret and to make a copy of it before sending the manuscript to Rome, but the old bishop persisted in his refusal. Bishop Venancio, who related this to me in Fatima on February 13, 1983, had to content himself with looking at the envelope while holding it up to the light. He could see inside a little sheet of which he measured the exact size. We thus know that the Third Secret is not very long, probably 20 to 25 lines, that is to say about the same length as the Second Secret. This allows us to reject as certainly inauthentic, several texts much too long, which some forgers have tried to foist upon the public as being the true Secret of Fatima.
On the 16th of April, 1957, the sealed envelope arrived in Rome. What became of it? It was placed in the office of Pope Pius XII, in a little chest bearing the note, "Secret of the Holy Office".(3) It is Mother Pascalina who confided this to the journalist, Robert Serrou who in turn recently confirmed this fact.
Did Pope Pius XII read the Secret?
As surprising as it may seem the answer is almost certainly No. Like Father Alonso, I give several solid arguments for this conclusion; notably the testimonies of Cardinal Ottaviani and Monsignor Capovilla, Secretary of Pope John XXIII, who stated to us that the envelope was still sealed when the Holy Father opened it in 1959, one year after the death of Pope Pius XII.
One understands, therefore, the solemn words which Sister Lucy addressed on the 26th of December, 1957, to Father Fuentes, then Postulator of the beatification causes of Jacinta and Francisco.She said: "The Blessed Virgin is very sad, for no one attaches any importance to Her Message ... Neither the good nor the bad ...
The good continue on their way but without paying attention to the Message ... I cannot give any other details, since it is still a secret ... Only the Holy Father and His Excellency the Bishop of Fatima would be able to know it in accordance to the Will of the Blessed Virgin ... But they haven't willed to know it as they did not want to be influenced."
Pope Pius XII, therefore, without a doubt, preferred to wait for 1960, but he died before then. What a loss for the Church!(4)
The Unanimous and Fervent Anticipation
At the approach of 1960, older ones remember it, the whole Christian people confidently awaited the promised public unveiling of the Secret. And you Italians (here present) you no doubt know that in 1959 there was in the whole country a great movement of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For several months, the Virgin of Fatima crisscrossed the peninsula drawing along in Her trail enthusiastic crowds and spreading everywhere Her marvels of grace, extraordinary fervor, miracles of conversion, miracles of doves(5) ... On the 13th of September, 1959, all the Bishops of the country solemnly consecrated Italy to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Unfortunately, the movement was so little encouraged by Pope John XXIII that his silence and reserve could not pass unnoticed.
Pope John XXIII Reads the Secret of Fatima and Refuses to Disclose It
We know that the Pope had the envelope of the Third Secret brought to him at Castelgandolfo on August 17, 1959, by Monsignor Philippe, who was then an official of the Holy Office. Let us notice that this transmission of the Secret to the Sovereign Pontiff thus took on an official character and gathered around it a certain solemnity, which shows the esteem which Fatima was held in that era. Pope John XXIII did not immediately open the envelope. He was content to declare "I am waiting to read it with my confessor." "The reading of the Secret," Monsignor Capovilla stated precisely, "was done a few days later." "But because of the difficulty raised by expressions peculiar to the language, assistance was requested of the Portuguese translator of the Secretariat of the State, Mgr. Paulo Jose Tavarez," who became afterwards, the Bishop of Macao. Later, Pope John XXIII had it read to Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office.
Let us open here a brief parenthesis. Certainly we know well that it belongs to the Hierarchy to judge "private revelations". In 1960, it was evident that the Church had already officially recognized the Divine authenticity of the Fatima apparitions, proved, moreover, more solidly than any other by incontestable prophecies and dazzling miracles as Father Gruner has just reminded us. In accordance with the command of the Most Blessed Virgin transmitted through Sister Lucy, the two prelates in charge, the Bishop of Leiria and the Patriarch of Lisbon had publicly undertaken to reveal the complete content of it by 1960 at the latest. For more than 15 years, no authoritative declaration had come out to refute these repeated promises echoed throughout the entire world by Cardinals, Bishops and Fatima experts as renowned as Canon Galamba, Canon Barthas or Father Messias Dias Coelho. The disclosure of the first two Secrets in 1942 with the consent of Pope Pius XII constituted moreover a precedent. So that the faithful perfectly had the right to expect from the supreme authority this promised revelation. They had at least a right to an exact and straightforward explanation on the part of the Holy Father.
Alas, on February 8, 1960, it was all of a sudden learned through a simple press release that the Third Secret of Fatima would not be revealed. It was an anonymous decision, which is by its very nature, totally irresponsible. What were the reasons that had motivated it? The Vatican communiqué had offered only inconsistent, and even contradictory excuses. This anonymous press release even ended in treachery: "Although the Church recognizes the Fatima apparitions She does not desire to take the responsibility of guaranteeing the veracity of the words that the three shepherd children said that the Virgin Mary had addressed to them."(6) Thus, apparently, the Vatican not only assumed as its own the untenable position of Father Dhanis (the detailed exposé and analysis of this incoherent thesis is in the first volume),(7) but this communiqué went even further. It publicly and without any valid reason cast the most ignominious suspicion upon the credibility of Sister Lucy and upon the whole of the Fatima Message!
According to Mgr. Capovilla, several Roman Prelates had been consulted. But what is certain is that the Portuguese authorities in charge were odiously disregarded. Neither Bishop Venancio nor Cardinal Cerejeira had been consulted or notified by Rome.
Upon re-reading and analysing this lamentable press release of February 8, 1960, or even more by studying the miserable article published in June by Father Caprile in "Civilta Cattolica", one is disheartened by the massive examples of incoherence, inaccuracies and falsehoods which have been uttered by responsible authorities in Rome itself on the subject of Fatima. This tells you how much the decision to take no notice of the expressed will of the Immaculate Virgin, Queen of the Apostles, demanding that Her Secret be revealed by 1960, was unjustified and unjustifiable. It is certain also, that it did immense harm to the Fatima cause.
One can say that it was from this date after this public disregard for the "Secret of Mary" that devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin began to decrease in a perceptible and then alarming manner in the very bosom of the Catholic Church. More than ever, the words of Sister Lucy applied: "The Blessed Virgin is very sad, for no one pays attention to Her Message." And this fault, one must dare to say it, was going to have incalculable consequences. For in the disregarding of the prophecies and requests of Fatima, it was the Virgin Mary, it was God Himself who had been disregarded, who had been ridiculed in front of the world. The conditional punishment announced through the maternal warning of the Immaculate One was then going to be carried out tragically, inevitably.
The Third Secret Revealed!