More about THE THREE SECRETS BELOW
“Please don’t be afraid of me. I’m not going to harm you.”
“I come from heaven.”
“I want you to return here on the 13th of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”
“Will you offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings he sends you?
In atonement for all the sins that offend him?
And for the conversion of sinners? [The children said, “We will.”]
Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.”
“Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”
“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month.
I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.
And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way:
‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell.
Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.’
I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.”
“I shall take Jacinta and Francisco [to heaven] soon, but you [Lucia] will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth.
He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart. …
My child … you must not be sad.
I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.”
“I want you to come back here on the 13th of next month.
Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.”
“You must come here every month, and in October I will tell you who I am and what I want.
I will then perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice:
‘O Jesus, this is for love of thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”
[After showing the children a vision of hell]:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go.
It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.
If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”
“This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin during the pontificate of Pius XI.
When you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light [this occurred on Jan. 28, 1938], you will know it is the sign God gives you that he is about to punish the world with war and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.”
“To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart,
and I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.
If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace;
if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church;
the good will be martyred,
and the Holy Father will have much to suffer;
certain nations will be annihilated.
“But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace.
In Portugal the faith will always be preserved.
“… Remember, you must not tell this to anyone except Francisco [who could not hear Our Lady during the apparitions].”
“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery:
‘O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.’”
“Come again to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of next month, my child, and continue to say the Rosary every day. In the last month I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“I want you [Lucia] to have two ardors [to carry statues] made, for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I want you and Jacinta to carry one of them with two other girls. You will both dress in white. And then I want Francisco, with three boys helping him, to carry the other one. The boys, too, will be dressed in white. What is left over [referring to money offerings by people] will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.”
“Pray; pray very much.
Make sacrifices for sinners.
Many souls go to hell because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice.”
“Continue the Rosary, my children.
Say it every day that the war may end.
In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”
“God is pleased with your sacrifices,
but he does not want you to wear the cords [around your waists as a penance] to bed.
Keep them on during the day.”
“… In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“I want a chapel built here in my honor. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.”
“I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
“… People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.
They must not offend Our Lord anymore, for he is already too much offended!”
Then the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, as Our Lady promised.
The Carmelite Order is linked with Fatima.
Sister Lucia was a Carmelite and as a child, during the Miracle of the Sun, she saw Our Lady of Mt Carmel:
“After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament,
we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun.
St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world,
for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.
When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady;
it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours.
Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done.
This apparition also vanished,
and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.”
THE THREE SECRETS
In her third memoir, written in 1941, Lúcia said that the first secret, a vision of Hell, was disclosed to the children on 13 July 1917.
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
The second secret was a statement that World War I would end, along with a prediction of another war during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
In 1925 Sister Lucia reported an apparition of the Virgin Mary at the Convent of Saint Dorothea at Pontevedra, Galicia. She said she was asked to convey the message of the First Saturday Devotions. By her account a subsequent vision of the Child Jesus reiterated this request. In 1930, she wrote to her confessor that in 1929 she had a vision of both Mary and the Holy Trinity in which God had asked for the Consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary by the Pope in communion with all the bishops of the world. The message regarding the establishment of the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays is reminiscent of that reported by Margaret Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century, which led to the First Friday Devotion.
It is unlikely that this message was conveyed to the Pope, but the Bishop of Leiria suggested that she write her memoirs in the event that she might reveal further details of the 1917 apparitions. In her third memoir, written in 1941, Sister Lucia recalled that at the apparition of 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary had first mentioned the consecration of Russia, and said that she would return to give particulars.
Skeptics have noted that the second prophecy was not disclosed until August 1941, after World War II had already begun. They have also questioned whether Mary, in 1917, referred explicitly to Pope Pius XI, as Ambrogio Ratti did not choose that regnal name until after his election in 1922. Further, the European portion of World War II is generally held to have begun on 1 September 1939, and by then, Pope Pius XII had succeeded Pius XI. As for the conversion of Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution did not happen until November 1917.
Some proponents of the Fatima prophecies argue that the secret did not say that the war must begin in Europe, and during the pontificate of Pius XI Japan had already invaded China in 1937, which is generally seen by historians of China and other parts of Asia as when the Second World War actually began, a view which also has qualified support from some Western historians. Some critics argue that the Russian Civil War (1918-1921), the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), the Chinese Civil War (1927-1937), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the war between Italy and Ethiopia (1935-1936) serve to illustrate that the prediction that one war will end and that another will start is not necessarily an indication of divine inspiration. Proponents of the prophecy will point out that the second secret called for a war worse than World War I, not simply any armed conflict. In addition, with regards to the conversion of Russia, there was already, at the time, strong revolutionary ferment in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution as witnessed by the earlier February Revolution in 1917 and the active communist and anarchist movements, which would explain Mary’s reference to the conversion of Russia on 13 July 1917.
On 25 January 1938, The New York Times reported “Aurora Borealis Startles Europe; People Flee in Fear, Call Firemen.” The celestial display was seen from Canada to Bermuda to Austria to Scotland, and short-wave radio transmissions were shut down for almost 12 hours in Canada. It is noteworthy that during the final hour of this aurora, Christian Rakovsky was undergoing interrogation in the Soviet Union, giving information to Stalin about Western involvement in Hitler’s rise, suggesting an alliance with the Western powers against Germany.
Sister Lúcia chose not to disclose the third secret in her memoir of August 1941. In 1943, Lúcia fell seriously ill with influenza and pleurisy. Bishop Silva, visiting her on 15 September 1943, suggested that she write the third secret down to ensure that it would be recorded in the event of her death. Lúcia was hesitant to do so, however. At the time she received the secret, she had heard Mary say not to reveal it, but because Carmelite obedience requires that orders from superiors be regarded as coming directly from God, she was in a quandary as to whose orders took precedence. Finally, in mid-October, Bishop Silva sent her a letter containing a direct order to record the secret, and Lúcia obeyed.
The third part of the secret was written down “by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother” on 3 January 1944. In June 1944, the sealed envelope containing the third secret was delivered to Silva, where it stayed until 1957, when it was finally delivered to Rome.
It was announced by Cardinal Angelo Sodano on 13 May 2000, 83 years after the first apparition of the Lady to the children in the Cova da Iria, and 19 years after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II that the Third Secret would finally be released. In his announcement, Cardinal Sodano implied that the secret was about the 20th century persecution of Christians that culminated in the failed Pope John Paul II assassination attempt on 13 May 1981, the 64th anniversary of the first apparition of the Lady at Fátima.
The text of the Third Secret, according to the Vatican, was published on 26 June 2000:
The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917.
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Along with the text of the secret, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI), published a theological commentary in which he states: “A careful reading of the text of the so-called third ‘secret’ of Fatima … will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled.” After explaining the differences between public and private revelations, he cautions people not to see in the message a determined future event:
The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.[
He then moves on to talk about the symbolic nature of the images, noting: “The concluding part of the ‘secret’ uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.” As for the meaning of the message: “What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the ‘secret’: the exhortation to prayer as the path of ‘salvation for souls’ and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.”
Despite this statement, on 11 May 2010, during the flight to Fatima, answering to a question about the Third Secret, Pope Benedict XVI told that “we would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message has been completely realized”.[Then, he expressed the hope the centenary of the apparitions of 1917 may hasten the fulfillment of the “prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the glory of the Blessed Trinity“, specifying that the suffering inside the Church “would have originated not from external enemies, but from within the same Church”.
Third Secret controversy
Prior to the 1930s, the main focus of devotion to Our Lady of Fatima (which was at that time not widely known outside Portugal and Spain) was on the need to pray the Rosary for an end to World War I and for world peace. After the publication of Sister Lucia’s memoirs, starting in 1935, Fatima came to be seen as presenting the victory of the Blessed Virgin over Communism.
In 1960 the Vatican issued a press release stating that it was “most probable the Secret would remain, for ever, under absolute seal.” This announcement produced considerable speculation over the content of the secret. According to the New York Times, speculation ranged from “worldwide nuclear annihilation to deep rifts in the Roman Catholic Church that lead to rival papacies.” On 2 May 1981, Laurence James Downey hijacked an airplane and demanded that Pope John Paul II make public the Third Secret of Fatima.
The release of the text sparked criticism from the Catholic Church in Portugal. Clergy as well as laypeople were offended that the text had been read in Rome and not at the Fátima shrine in Portugal where the reported events took place. The Times for 29 June 2000 reported that “The revelation on Monday that there were no doomsday predictions has provoked angry reactions from the Portuguese church over the decision to keep the prophecy secret for half a century.”
Critics such as Italian journalist and media personality Antonio Socci claim that the four-page handwritten text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican in 2000 is not the real secret, or at least not the full secret. The argument is based on the following:
- Written on one sheet of paper: the text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican is handwritten on four sheets of paper. Father Joaquin Alonso, official Fátima archivist for sixteen years, reports in his book that, “Lucy tells us that she wrote it on a sheet of paper. In a taped interview, Charles Fiore quoted Malachi Martin as saying the following regarding the text of the Third Secret: “I cooled my heels in the corridor outside the Holy Father’s apartments, while my boss, Cardinal Bea, was inside debating with the Holy Father, and with a group of other bishops and priests, and two young Portuguese seminarians, who translated the letter, a single page, written in Portuguese, for all those in the room.”
- Written in the form of a letter: another reason why critics argue the full Third Secret has not been released is because of indications that the Third Secret was written in the form of a signed letter to the Bishop of Leiria and the text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican is not written in the form of a letter. Lúcia was interviewed by Father Jongen on 3 February 1946. When Fr. Jongen asked Lúcia when the time would arrive for the Third Secret, Lúcia responded, “I communicated the third part in a letter to the Bishop of Leiria.” Also, Canon Galamba, an advisor to the Bishop of Leiria, is quoted as saying, “When the bishop refused to open the letter, Lucy made him promise that it would definitely be opened and read to the world either at her death or in 1960, whichever came first.”
- Contains words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary: the text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican contains no words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Socci asserts that the Third Secret probably begins with the words “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.”, words which Lúcia included in her Fourth Memoir, but which are included only as a footnote to the text released by the Vatican.
- Contains information about the Apocalypse, apostasy, Satanic infiltration of the Church: in an interview published in the 11 November 1984 edition of Jesus Magazine, Cardinal Ratzinger was asked whether he had read the text of the Third Secret and why it had not been revealed. Ratzinger acknowledged that he had read the Third Secret, and stated in part that the Third Secret involves the “importance of the novissimi“, and “dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore (the life) of the world.” Ratzinger also commented that “If it is not made public – at least for the time being – it is in order to prevent religious prophecy from being mistaken for a quest for the sensational.” Also, a news article quoted former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican, Howard Dee, as saying that Cardinal Ratzinger had personally confirmed to him that the messages of Akita and Fátima are “essentially the same”. The Akita prophecy, in part, contains the following: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. … churches and altars sacked ….” On May 13, 2000, Cardinal Sodano announced that the Third Secret would be released, during which he implied the secret was about the persecution of Christians in the 20th century that culminated in the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981. In a syndicated radio broadcast, Malachi Martin stated that the Third Secret “doesn’t make any sense unless we accept that there will be, or that there is in progress, a wholesale apostasy amongst clerics, and laity in the Catholic Church …”.
- In a 1980 interview for the German magazine Stimme des Glaubens published in October 1981, John Paul II was asked explicitly to speak about the third secret. He said:[excessive quote]
Because of the seriousness of its contents, in order not to encourage the world wide power of Communism to carry out certain coups, my predecessors in the chair of Peter have diplomatically preferred to withhold its publication. On the other hand, it should be sufficient for all Christians to know this much: if there is a message in which it is said that the oceans will flood entire sections of the earth; that, from one moment to the other, millions of people will perish… there is no longer any point in really wanting to publish this secret message. Many want to know merely out of curiosity, or because of their taste for sensationalism, but they forget that ‘to know’ implies for them a responsibility. It is dangerous to want to satisfy one’s curiosity only, if one is convinced that we can do nothing against a catastrophe that has been predicted.” He held up his rosary and stated “Here is the remedy against this evil. Pray, pray and ask for nothing else. Put everything in the hands of the Mother of God.” Asked what would happen in the Church, he said: “We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong, … we must entrust ourselves to Christ and to His holy Mother, and we must be attentive, very attentive, to the prayer of the Rosary.”
According to one source, when Lúcia was asked about the Third Secret, she said it was “in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse”, and at one point she had even specified Apocalypse chapters 8 to 13, a range that includes the Book of Revelation 12:4, the chapter and verse cited by Pope John Paul II in his homily in Fátima on 13 May 2000.