Pope John Paul II in Fulda, Germany (1980)
The October 1981 issue of the German magazine Stimme des Glaubens reported on a discussion that Pope John Paul II had with a select group of German Catholics, in November of 1980. The following is a verbatim report of the discussion:1
Text of the Published Report
The Holy Father was asked, "What about the Third Secret of Fatima? Should it not have already been published by 1960?"
Pope John Paul II replied: "Given the seriousness of the contents, my predecessors in the Petrine office diplomatically preferred to postpone publication so as not to encourage the world power of Communism to make certain moves.
"On the other hand, it should be sufficient for all Christians to know this: if there is a message in which it is written that the oceans will flood whole areas of the earth, and that from one moment to the next millions of people will perish, truly the publication of such a message is no longer something to be so much desired."
The Pope continued: "Many wish to know simply from curiosity and a taste for the sensational, but they forget that knowledge also implies responsibility. They only seek the satisfaction of their curiosity, and that is dangerous if at the same time they are not disposed to do something, and if they are convinced that it is impossible to do anything against evil."
At this point the Pope grasped a Rosary and said: "Here is the remedy against this evil. Pray, pray, and ask for nothing more. Leave everything else to the Mother of God."
The Holy Father was then asked: "What is going to happen to the Church?"
He answered: "We must prepare ourselves to suffer great trials before long, such as will demand of us a disposition to give up even life, and a total dedication to Christ and for Christ … With your and my prayer it is possible to mitigate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only thus can the Church be effectively renewed. How many times has the renewal of the Church sprung from blood! This time, too, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong and prepared, and trust in Christ and His Mother, and be very, very assiduous in praying the Rosary."
What it Means
When Pope John Paul II spoke at Fulda, he had not yet been the victim of the 1981 assassination attempt. Speaking of the Third Secret of Fatima, he did not allude to anything resembling a future assassination attempt (which in 2000 the Vatican announced to be the subject of the final part of the Secret that Our Lady revealed at Fatima in 1917), but rather to imminent chastisement and worldwide tribulation.