“A bad Council and a bad Mass.” This would presumably be the “true” content of the third secret of Fatima that the Vatican has alledgedly kept secret. But Joseph Ratzinger, who guarded it, published it and commented on it, brands as “pure invention” yet another alleged “revelation” on this most discussed and studied prophetic text.
The Pentecost Scoop
The revelation appears to be a heavy one. The German theologian Father Ingo Döllinger, a personal friend of Benedict XVI, gave Maike Hickson, on the site OnePeterFive, an announcement nothing short of sensational, telling of a dialogue face-to-face with the then-Cardinal Ratzinger: “Not long after the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima, in June 2000, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Father Döllinger during a face-to-face conversation that there is a part of the Third Secret that they have not yet published! ‘There is more than what we have published’ said Ratzinger. He had also told Döllinger that the published part of the Secret is authentic and that the unpublished part of the Secret speaks of ‘a bad Council and a bad Mass’ that would come in the near future. Father Döllinger gave me permission to publish these facts on the feast of the Holy Spirit and gave me his blessing.” Thus, a new supposed revelation about the alleged unseen content. To date, the speculation about the alleged unpublished content has been divided between the more catastrophic (the announcement of terrible punishments by the Madonna), and ideas more related to the internal life of the Church (in essence, a questioning of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council). This latest release belongs in the second category.
The Pope Emeritus speaks
The denial, unedited and brusque, arrived on May 21 through a statement from the Vatican Press Office which reports the quoted comments of Benedict XVI. “Some articles published recently reported statements attributed to Prof. Ingo Döllinger, to whom Card. Ratzinger, following the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima (which took place in June 2000), allegedly confided that the publication was not complete.” “With regard to this.” the statement continues, “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announces that he has ‘never talked to Prof. Döllinger about Fatima’, clearly stating that the utterances attributed to Professor Döllinger on this issue ‘are pure inventions, absolutely untrue’ and confirms definitively: ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.’” The denial is therefore threefold: Ratzinger asserts the inaccuracy of the circumstances (the alleged dialogue with the German theologian of Fatima), of the content (the negative words of Mary on the Council and the Mass arising from the liturgical reform), as well as the rumor of an “undisclosed secret.”
The mystery of the vision
The secret of Fatima is contained in a vision that three shepherd children received in 1917. The first two parts, concerning the vision of hell, the Second World War and the consecration of Russia, were revealed early on, while the third part was destined only for the Pope. Sister Lucia dos Santos wrote the third secret in January 1944 and delivered it to the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, José Alves Correia da Silva, in June of that year. The bishop sent it to the Vatican, at the request of the Holy See, in the spring of 1957, towards the end of the pontificate of Pius XII. It is always been said that it was to have been made public in 1960, but John XXIII, as well as Paul VI, felt that they could not do it. It was John Paul II, in May 2000, who made the decision and proposed an interpretation of the vision - the martyrdom of a Pope, “the bishop dressed in white”, and of many Christians - of which he would have been the protagonist with the attack suffered in 1981. The then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger, endorsed the operation and wrote a commentary on the prophetic vision, which was presented as something belonging to the past. Subsequently, the same Ratzinger, who became Pope, seemed less inclined to consider the prophecy of Fatime entirely closed, considering the martyrdom of Christians that certainly did not end with the fall of communism, and the attacks that the Church continues to suffer from the inside, by the sin of her members.
Just one vision. And the words?
The doubts that were raised after the publication of the 2000 text by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are based on two issues. The first is an unfinished phrase in the fourth memoir written by Sister Lucia, where she attributes to Our Lady in these words: “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.” It seems clear from the context that these are words from the appearance related to the vision of the Third Secret. The participation of the seer-shepherds, at the event of the apparitions, was not equal for all three. In fact, while Sister Lucia saw Our Lady, heard her voice, and could talk to her, Jacinta Marto could see and hear but not speak, while Francisco Marto could only see but heard nothing. Francisco, Lucia’s cousin, was thus always able to see everything, including the vision of hell, but never heard anything of the words spoken by Our Lady, which were instead perceived by his sister and cousin. This was confirmed by the same Sister Lucia in her fourth “memory”, dated 1941. The appearance, speaking of the third part of the secret, would have addressed these words to Lucia and Jacinta: “Francisco, yes, you can tell him.” From this particularity, some argue that the third secret contained not only a vision - that of the martyrdom of Christians and the Pope - but also a set of words that accompanied and interpreted it. In the interrogation of Lucia, during the canonical process in 1924, the seer declared on the subject of the third part of the secret: “Then the Lady said to us a few short words, urging us not to tell anyone, except Francisco only.”
The double envelope
The second problem concerns the history of the text of the secret. When it arrived at the Vatican, it was kept in a wooden box in the apartment of Pope Pius XII. It was also deposited at the former Holy Office. In the dossier published by the Holy See in 2000, entitled “The Message of Fatima”, it states that John XXIII read the secret, but decided not to publish it. So it is said that Paul VI asked for the text from the Holy Office and read it on March 27, 1965, almost three years after the election. But the former secretary of Pope John, Loris Capovilla, made statements that do not coincide with this reconstruction. Capovilla, who after the death of Pope Roncalli had been working in the anteroom of his successor, said that Montini asked him, on Thursday, June 27, 1963 - just six days after becoming Pope, and even before the solemn ceremony of coronation, which took place on the 29th - where the third secret was hidden, because he could not find it. Capovilla said that the envelope containing the secret “lies in the drawer of the desk called Barbarigo, in the bedroom.” There, the collaborators of Paul VI recovered it. The inconsistency between the Vatican publication and the words of Capovilla suggests that in fact there may be two texts: the first was kept in the apartment of the Pope, the second in the Holy Office archives. This would mean, according to an unproven hypothesis, that there are two distinct parts of the third secret (which is itself only the third part of a single revelation). The text preserved in the archives would contain only the vision - the one revealed by the Vatican in 2000 - while the envelope that was in the papal apartment would preserve the explanation of that vision, the words of commentary spoken by Our Lady.
The “fatimists” say they are confident that the only possible explanation for these inconsistencies is the existence of two separate texts: the vision and interpretation. The second text would not have been revealed because it is too catastrophic and apocalyptic, or because it contains a negative view of the Council and the liturgical reform. The latter situation causes the frenzy of those who attribute - naively from the historical point of view and interestingly from the point of view of intra-ecclesial battles - the crisis of faith, secularization, and almost all the evils of the Church to Vatican II. They are convinced that if everything had remained crystallized as it was at the time of Pius XII, there would be no secularization, no crisis of vocations or of the family, etc. However, it remains to be explained why John Paul II decided to publish only one part of the third mystery, instead of continuing to keep everything under lock and key. It cannot be excluded, on the other hand, that the inconsistencies are due, more simply, not to the existence of two different texts, but of two different copies of the same secret stored in multiple locations. Another possible explanation is related to the many writings of Sister Lucia, who continued to receive visions and messages, transferring them to the Vatican. It is possible that the Popes had doubts and difficulties in distinguishing the authentic message of the apparition from the interpretations of the seer.
The words of Amato
Inasmuch as stated by Benedict XVI, in the rebuttal that represents one of his rare appearances since he renounced the papacy, it was also reiterated a year ago by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of Saints, Angelo Amato, who before arriving at the “halo factory” was second-in-command at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “I must say that there is no fourth secret” of Fatima, “nor are there other hidden secrets,” he said in May 2015. “When I was Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the cardinal wrote, “I had the privilege to have in hand and read the original manuscripts regarding the secrets of Fatima and their message. I have pondered them for a long time because they shed a light of faith and hope on the sad events of the last century and beyond. Let us recall that the twentieth century, long predicted to be dominated by reason and brotherhood among the peoples, in reality was a tragic period for Christianity, as it was persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world. Without considering the two world wars, the most tragic stations of this evangelical Way of the Cross were sequentially the Armenian genocide, the Mexican repression, the Spanish persecution, the Nazi massacre, the communist extermination, and, in this first part of the third millennium, the Islamist persecution. There are millions of victims of malignant ideologies, which have generated and still generate conflict, hatreds and divisions.”