The Third Secret Fully Revealed
If, as seems to be the case—and as millions of responsible Catholics believe—there is more to the Third Secret than an obscure vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” with no explanation by Our Lady of Fatima of how it is to be interpreted, then in what would the missing part of the Secret consist? We have already suggested an answer. In this chapter, we develop the answer in some detail.
Every Witness Agrees
The testimony of every single witness who has spoken on the question points to only one conclusion: the missing part of the Third Secret of Fatima foretells a catastrophic loss of faith and discipline in the human element of the Church—that is, in short, a great apostasy. Let us recall the testimonies on this point, which we first presented in Chapter 4:
Pope Pius XII
Fr. Joseph Schweigl
On December 26, 1957, with an imprimatur and the approbation of the Bishop of Fatima, Father Fuentes published the following revelations by Sister Lucy concerning the Third Secret:
Before his death in 1981, Father Joaquin Alonso, who for sixteen years was the official archivist of Fatima, testified as follows:
It is important to note that, as part of the general attempt to conceal and suppress the truth about Fatima, Bishop Amaral was pressured to withdraw his remarks shortly after they were made. But then, ten years later, and now safely retired, the bishop casually reaffirmed his testimony in a public interview in 1995, adding a crucial bit of evidence: “Before I asserted in Vienna (in 1984) that the Third Secret concerned only our Faith and the loss of Faith I had consulted Sister Lucy and first obtained her approval.”6 Thus, Sister Lucy herself indirectly confirmed, yet again, that the true and complete Third Secret of Fatima predicts apostasy in the Church.
To these witnesses we must add the testimony of two others. The first is Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, who was nothing less than Pope John Paul II's own personal papal theologian. In a personal communication to a Professor Baumgartner in Salzburg, Cardinal Ciappi revealed that:
Then there is Father Jose dos Santos Valinho, who is Sister Lucy's own nephew. In a book by Renzo and Roberto Allegri entitled Reportage su Fatima [Milan 2000], published—providentially enough—very shortly before the disclosure of the Third Secret vision and the publication of TMF by Ratzinger/Bertone, Father Valinho expressed the view that the Third Secret predicts apostasy in the Church.8
In short, every single witness on the issue—even Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984—has testified to the same effect: the contents of the Third Secret of Fatima pertain to a crisis of faith in the Catholic Church, an apostasy, with grave consequences for the whole world. Not a single witness has ever denied that this is what the Third Secret portends. Nor has Sister Lucy ever corrected any of these testimonies, even though throughout her life she has not hesitated to correct those who misrepresented the contents of the Message of Fatima.
Pope John Paul II Has Twice
As if all this were not enough, on two occasions, in his own sermons at Fatima, Pope John Paul II himself has confirmed the essential contents of the Third Secret. It is apparent that Pope John Paul II told us essential elements of the Third Secret in his sermon at Fatima on May 13, 1982, as well as in his sermon during the beatification ceremony of Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto at Fatima on May 13, 2000.
On the first occasion the Pope asked in his sermon: “Can the Mother who, with all the force of the love that She fosters in the Holy Spirit and desires everyone's salvation, can She remain silent when She sees the very bases of Her children's salvation undermined ?” The Pope then answered his own question: “No, She cannot remain silent.” Here the Pope himself tells us that the Fatima Message concerns Our Lady's warning that the very bases of our salvation are being undermined. Notice the striking parallel between this testimony and that of Pope Pius XII, who spoke of the suicide of altering the Faith in the Church's liturgy, theology and Her very soul.
Then, on May 13, 2000, the Pope in his sermon during the beatification ceremony warned the faithful as follows:
We have already noted that His Holiness cited Chapter 12 verses 3 and 4 of the Book of the Apocalypse, and that the reference in those verses is commonly interpreted to mean one-third of the Catholic clergy being swept down from their exalted state through loss of faith or moral corruption—and we are certainly seeing both among the Catholic clergy today. Notice the exact coincidence of the Pope's sermon with Sister Lucy's warning to Father Fuentes about how “The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag numerous souls to hell.”
Therefore, it seems perfectly clear that Pope John Paul II was trying to tell us that the Third Secret relates to the great apostasy foretold in Sacred Scripture. Why did the Pope not say these things directly and explicitly, but rather in a somewhat hidden manner, in language only the more learned would grasp? It seems likely that he was sending a signal to the more astute about what he thought was going to be revealed very soon—namely, the whole of the Third Secret. As it turned out, of course, we received only the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” and the so-called “commentary” in TMF. Perhaps the Pope recognized the strength of the resistance posed by Cardinal Sodano and his collaborators, and hoped that he would at least be able to disclose in his sermon the essence of the Secret in the hope that sooner or later the whole truth would come out. Perhaps the Pope does not feel that he can speak freely, precisely because he had allowed himself to be surrounded by clerics, religious, bishops and Cardinals whom he has discovered now to be untrustworthy but whom he feels unable to replace, who are still in office and who are undermining the Faith, who are part of that one-third of the consecrated souls swept down from their high stations by the devil. Perhaps the Pope either does not know who they are, or he does know but does not think he can speak out publicly and survive for long. (We recall here the sudden death of Pope John Paul I.) Whatever the reason, the Pope is not speaking very clearly—yet clearly enough that one can discern his meaning. As Jesus told His disciples on one occasion: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
So, not only is every witness, from the future Pope Pius XII in the 1930s through Sister Lucy's own nephew in the year 2000, unanimous on this point, but the reigning Pope adds his own voice to theirs: the Third Secret foretells a widespread loss of faith and fall from grace among the Catholic clergy of various ranks.
Now, the first two parts of the Secret of Fatima say absolutely nothing about apostasy in the Church. Likewise, the visional portion of the Third Secret, concerning the “Bishop dressed in White”, says absolutely nothing about an apostasy. If every witness says that the Third Secret speaks of apostasy in the Church, yet those portions of the Message of Fatima revealed to date, including the vision of “a Bishop dressed in White”, say nothing about it, the inescapable conclusion is that some portion of the Third Secret has been withheld. What does this portion actually say?
The logical place to begin is with the telltale phrase that the Vatican apparatus has been at great pains to demote and obscure as if it were a mere footnote to the Message of Fatima: “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” This phrase is the only evident reference to a coming apostasy in the published portions of the Message (although we hasten to add, that even without this phrase, it would still be clear from all the evidence that the Third Secret relates to an apostasy in the Church). Here, and only here, the revealed portion of the integral Message of Fatima touches upon the question of the dogmas of the Faith, and how they will be preserved in Portugal.
What would be the point of Our Lady mentioning the preservation of dogma in Portugal if not to warn us that dogma was not going to be preserved elsewhere in the Church? And, as we have earlier suggested, the “elsewhere” is undoubtedly described in the words comprised within Sister Lucy's “etc.”
Given that the vision published on June 26, 2000 contains no further words of Our Lady, it can only be concluded that the missing words of Our Lady are found in the “sound track”, as it were, of the Third Secret, in which Our Lady would explain the vision. The vision, it would seem, is the end result of this catastrophic loss of faith: The Pope and remaining hierarchy are being hunted down and killed outside the half-ruined city of Rome, perhaps (we can only speculate since the words of Our Lady are missing) after a nuclear holocaust.
This, indeed, fits perfectly with Cardinal Ratzinger's admission in 1984 that the Third Secret relates to “dangers to the faith and the life of the Christian, and therefore of the world.” On the figurative level, the corpses surrounding the Pope as he walks haltingly toward the hill where he is executed by soldiers would represent the victims of apostasy, and the half-ruined city the condition of the Church during this time of apostasy.
The Greatest Threat of All:
When Mother Angelica stated on national television on May 16, 2001 that she believes “we didn't get the whole thing” [i.e., the whole Third Secret] because “I think it's scary,” she was surely correct. There is nothing more frightening than the danger of a widespread loss of Faith in the Church, especially when the danger emanates “from the top” as Cardinal Ciappi, the Pope's own personal theologian, said concerning the Third Secret. The result of this danger, if it is not averted, will be the eternal damnation of millions of souls. And who knows how many have been lost already for lack of the Third Secret's salutary warnings and advice?
The vision published on June 26, however, simply does not express anything that frightening. The vision, in fact, expresses nothing so terrible that the Vatican would have kept it under lock and key for forty years. Indeed, Cardinal Ratzinger would have us believe that the Third Secret, as represented by the vision alone, contains “no great surprises”. That is because the surprises follow the still-hidden conclusion of the phrase “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc”—again, the very phrase the Cardinal's “commentary” has removed from the integral text of Our Lady's words in Sister Lucy's Fourth Memoir.
Now, when the Pope spoke of “the very bases of our salvation undermined” in his Fatima sermon in 1982, he certainly meant the undermining of the Catholic Faith. We know this from the constant teaching of the Catholic Church. For example, the Athanasian Creed says: “Whoever wishes to be saved must before all else adhere to the Catholic faith. He must preserve this faith whole and inviolate; otherwise he shall most certainly perish in eternity.” The foundation of our salvation is belonging to the Catholic Church and holding on to our Catholic Faith whole and inviolate. The loss of this foundation must be what the Third Secret concerns. Every witness says so, Pope John Paul II says so, and the telltale phrase “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” also says so.
As Our Lord warned us: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he loses his own eternal soul?” If a person loses his soul for the new orientation of the Church, the New World Order, the One World Religion, or the promise of peace and prosperity in the world, it profits him nothing, for he will burn in hell for all eternity. For this reason alone, the Third Secret is vitally important to us. It could not be any more important, because it concerns the salvation of our own individual souls. It also concerns the salvation of the souls of the Pope, Cardinals, bishops, priests, and indeed of every living person. Thus, the Third Secret concerns every man, woman and child on the face of the earth, and particularly Catholics.
We recall again that in 1984 Cardinal Ratzinger admitted that if the Secret was not published “at least for now” it was to “avoid confusing religious prophecy with sensationalism”—a far cry from his claim today that, according to Sodano's Party Line, the Third Secret culminated in 1981 with the failed assassination attempt. Further, the Third Secret is a prophecy that began to be realized in 1960, which Sister Lucy said was the year by which the prophecy will be “much clearer” (mais claro). As Frère Michel points out, a prophecy that starts to be realized obviously becomes much clearer. The prophecy, therefore, started to be realized at least by 1960. It is, therefore, a prophecy that tells us about our time. It is a loving warning from Our Lady, and also advice on how to respond to the clear and present danger in the Church.
Now let us look more closely at the essence of the Third Secret. As Cardinal Ratzinger admitted 18 years ago—again, before Cardinal Sodano issued the Party Line on Fatima—the Third Secret concerns, first of all, the dangers to the Faith. St. John tells us what it is that overcomes the world: he says it is our faith. Therefore, in order for the world to overcome the Church, it first has to overcome our faith as Catholics.
The Third Secret's essence then concerns the world's attempt to overcome our Catholic Faith. As we have demonstrated abundantly in the previous chapters, the forces of the world have conducted a major assault on the Catholic Faith since 1960. There is simply no question about this, based on the overwhelming evidence which we have only outlined here.
Still more particularly, the Secret concerns the dogma of the Faith. Our Lady of Fatima spoke about the dogma of the Faith always being preserved in Portugal, not simply “the Faith.” Why did Our Lady focus on Catholic dogma? Clearly, She did so because the Secret is a prophecy that Catholic dogma, specifically, would be the target of those who would attack the Church from within and without. As Our Lord Himself warned us in Sacred Scripture: “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13:22). As the Arian crisis demonstrates, these false prophets can include even priests and bishops. We can cite here Cardinal Newman's famous description of that time in Church history: “The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or deceived.” In such times of crisis, Catholics must adhere to the dogmas of the Faith.
What is dogma? Dogma is what has been infallibly defined by the Church. Dogma is what Catholics must believe in order to be Catholic. The dogmas of the Faith are what is contained in the solemn, infallible definitions of the Magisterium—namely, the Pope alone, speaking in a way that clearly binds the Universal Church to believe in what he is pronouncing, or an ecumenical council of all the Catholic bishops presided over by the Pope which issues such binding pronouncements, or those things taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church.
What is meant by the infallible definition of dogma? The word infallible means “cannot fail”. Therefore, the definitions of the Faith, solemnly defined by the Church, cannot fail. We know what the Faith is, what the dogmas of the Faith are, by means of the infallible definitions. If we believe and hold fast to these infallible definitions, then we cannot be deceived in those matters so defined.
How do we know that a matter has been defined infallibly as an article of the Catholic faith? We know it from the manner in which the teaching is presented.
Four Sources of Infallible Teaching
There are four principal ways Church teaching is presented to us infallibly:
First, through the promulgation of creeds by the Popes and ecumenical councils, which provide a summary of what Catholics must believe in order to be Catholic.
Second, by means of solemn definitions containing such phrases as “We declare, pronounce and define,” or some similar formula indicating that the Pope or the Pope together with an ecumenical council clearly intend to bind the Church to believe in the teaching. Such definitions are usually accompanied by anathemas (condemnations) of those who would in any way deny the defined teaching.
Third, the definitions of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, meaning the constant teaching of the Church in an “ordinary” manner, always and everywhere, even if the teaching is never solemnly defined by such words as “We declare, pronounce and define...” (One example of this is the Church's constant teaching, throughout Her history, that contraception and abortion are gravely immoral.)
Fourth, there are definitive judgements of the Pope, usually condemned propositions, which are those propositions a Catholic is forbidden to believe. When a Pope, or a Pope and council together, solemnly condemn a proposition, we can know infallibly that it is contrary to the Catholic Faith.
An example of a creed is the Profession of Faith promulgated by the Council of Trent. We present it here, conveniently arranged in the form of points, with the language unaltered:
As for solemn and infallible definitions of Catholic dogma, one recent example is the Apostolic Letter of Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854), infallibly defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary:
Here we recall that in TMF Cardinal Ratzinger blatantly undermined this dogma—and the Message of Fatima—by daring to claim that “According to Matthew 5:8, the ‘immaculate heart’ is a heart which, with God's grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore ‘sees God.’” No, no, no! The Immaculate Heart is not “a” heart, but the heart—the one and only heart—of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Who is the only merely human being Who was conceived without Original Sin and Who never committed even the slightest personal sin during Her glorious life on this earth.
Finally, there is the condemned proposition. A prime example of this is the Syllabus of Errors of Blessed Pius IX, wherein this great Pope enumerated the many errors of liberalism in the form of propositions which he solemnly, definitively and infallibly condemned as errors against the Faith,10 including proposition #80 (which we mentioned earlier): “The Roman Pontiff can and ought to reconcile himself and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.”
As we have shown, here too Cardinal Ratzinger has sought to undermine prior Church teaching, telling us that the teaching of Vatican II was a “countersyllabus” which was “an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789” and an effort to correct what he dared to call “the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Blessed Pius IX and Saint Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution …”11 To make his rejection of the solemn, infallible teaching of Blessed Pope Pius IX even more explicit, Cardinal Ratzinger declares that at Vatican II, “the attitude of critical reserve toward the forces that have left their imprint on the modern world is to be replaced by a coming to terms with their movement.”12 This opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger's flatly contradicts the teaching of Blessed Pope Pius IX that the Church must not “come to terms” with “progress, liberalism and modern civilization.”
Cardinal Ratzinger's outrageous abuse of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and his arrogant dismissal of the Syllabus as “one-sided” exposes the very core of the post-conciliar crisis in the Church: an assault on the infallible definitions of the Magisterium.
Now, for the most part, this assault has been rather indirect. The infallible definition is usually not directly denied, but rather undermined through criticism or “revision.” The innovators in the Church are not so stupid as simply to declare that an infallible Church teaching is wrong. And, in their supposed “enlightenment” these innovators may actually think they are “deepening” or “developing” Catholic teaching for the good of the Church—again, we are not judging their subjective motivations. But the effect of what they do is obvious: the undermining of the infallibly defined teachings of the Magisterium.
Another example of this undermining is the attack on the dogma that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. The Tridentine creed, quoted in full above, states: “I shall most constantly hold and profess this true Catholic faith, outside which no one can be saved …” In Chapter 6 we show how, over and over again, the Magisterium has solemnly defined the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Yet today, the dogma is denied and undermined by an “ecumenism” which declares that neither the Protestant heretics nor the Orthodox schismatics need return to the Catholic Church, because this is “outdated ecclesiology.”13 And in many places today, the dogma is directly denied, and in other places it is not directly denied but in practice it collapses from insidious, repeated, indirect attacks and, as a result, it is no longer believed and followed in those places.
It is undeniable that since Vatican II a host of novel notions has been passed off in the Church as “development” of Catholic doctrine, even though these novelties at least implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) contradict and undermine the infallible definitions. The idea, for example, that the Council document Gaudium et Spes is a “countersyllabus” that counters the solemn condemnations of Blessed Pope Pius IX14 undermines the whole integrity of the infallible Magisterium. Such talk is an assault on the very credibility of the teaching office of the Church, and is thus, in the end, an assault on Catholic dogma itself.
There Cannot be
This post-conciliar attack on dogma through undermining and implicit contradiction cannot be justified as a “development” or “new insight” into dogma. As the First Vatican Council solemnly taught: “For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the Apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”15
Further, as Vatican I taught, there cannot be any “new understanding” of what the Church has already infallibly defined:
Thus, it is a matter of Catholic Faith that we believe that no new doctrine has been revealed by God since the death of the last Apostle, Saint John and that no new understanding of doctrine has arisen because of Vatican II or otherwise.
Therefore, this “new” doctrine or “counter”-doctrine we have heard so much about since Vatican II can only be pseudo-doctrine. This pseudo-doctrine is being taught very subtly. When pseudo-doctrine contradicts doctrines that have been infallibly defined, then Catholics must cling to the infallible doctrines and reject the “new” doctrines.
The dogma of the Faith cannot fail, but novelties can fail us. Men can fail; lay people can fail; priests can fail; bishops can fail; Cardinals can fail; and even the Pope can fail in matters which do not involve his charism of infallibility, as history has shown us with more than one Pope who taught or appeared to teach some novelty.
For example, Pope Honorius was posthumously condemned by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 A.D. for aiding and abetting heresy,17 and that condemnation was approved by Pope Leo II and repeated by later Popes. As another example, Pope John XXII, back in the 14th Century (1333 A.D.), gave sermons (but not solemn definitions) in which he insisted that the blessed departed do not enjoy the Beatific Vision until the day of General Judgment. For this he was denounced and corrected by theologians, and he finally retracted his heretical opinion on his deathbed.
In the case of Pope John XXII, knowledgeable Catholics (in this case theologians) knew that John XXII was wrong in his teaching about the Particular Judgment. They knew that something was wrong with Pope John XXII's teaching because it contradicted what the Church had always believed, even if there had not yet been an infallible definition. Catholics who knew their faith in the 14th Century did not simply say: “Oh, the Pope has given a sermon, therefore we must change our belief.” Looking at the Church's constant teaching that the blessed departed enjoy the Beatific Vision immediately after Purgatory, the theologians knew Pope John XXII was wrong, and they told him so.
As it turned out, the immediacy of the Beatific Vision was solemnly and infallibly defined by Pope John XXII's successor in 1336. This placed the matter beyond all further dispute—which is precisely why an infallible definition was needed. The same is true with every other matter infallibly defined by the Church. We can, and must, rely on these infallible definitions with absolute certainty, rejecting all opinions to the contrary—even if contrary opinions were to come from a Cardinal or even a Pope.
There are other examples of Popes failing. Even the first Pope, St. Peter, failed, as shown in Sacred Scripture—not by what he said but by the example he gave. Saint Peter refused to sit at table with Gentile converts, in Antioch about 50 A.D. By shunning these converts he gave the false impression that the First Council of Jerusalem was wrong in its infallible teaching that the Mosaic ceremonial law, including the prohibition against Jews eating with “unclean” Gentiles, was not binding on the Catholic Church. This was the incident for which St. Paul rebuked St. Peter to his face in public. (Gal. 2:11)
Another example is Pope Liberius in 357 A.D. (or thereabouts), who failed by signing a Creed which the Arians proposed to him, leaving out any reference to the Son being consubstantial with the Father. He did this after two years in exile and under the threat of death. And he also failed (under duress while in exile) by wrongly condemning and excommunicating—in reality, only giving the appearance of excommunicating—St. Athanasius, who was defending the Faith in this matter. Pope Liberius, the first Pope not to be proclaimed a saint by the Church, was wrong because Athanasius was teaching the Catholic doctrine—the true doctrine, the infallible doctrine—taught infallibly by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. It was that infallible definition, not the defective teaching of Pope Liberius, that had to be followed in that case.
From these examples in Church history we learn that everything proposed to us for our belief must be judged by those definitions. And so if a Cardinal, a bishop, a priest, a layman or even the Pope teaches us some novelty that is contrary to any definition of the Faith, we can know that the teaching is wrong and that it must be rejected for the salvation of our immortal souls. Yes, even the Pope can fail, and he does fail if he expresses an opinion that is contrary to a solemn, infallible definition of the Catholic Church. This does not mean the Church fails when this happens, but only that the Pope has made a mistake without imposing it on the whole Church. And, of course, if even the Pope can make a mistake in teaching some novelty, then certainly Cardinals, bishops and priests can make mistakes in their teaching and opinions.
And so, when Our Lady speaks about the “dogma of the Faith”, She indicates to us that the danger to the Faith—and to “the life of the Christian and therefore (the life) of the world”, to recall Cardinal Ratzinger's admission—will arise when solemn dogmatic definitions of the Catholic Faith are contradicted or undermined; for it is these definitions which are the very foundation of the Catholic Faith, and therefore the foundation of our salvation, to recall the Pope's 1982 sermon at Fatima.
To the objection that mere priests, or mere lay people, cannot disagree with high-ranking prelates like Cardinal Ratzinger, or even (in the kind of extraordinary case for which we have just given examples) the Pope, one must reply: That is why the Church has infallible definitions. It is by measuring any given teaching against solemn, infallible definitions that one can know that a teaching is true or false—not by what rank in the clergy a person has. As St. Paul taught: “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:8) The faithful are to regard even an Apostle as anathema—accursed, cut off from the Church, worthy of hellfire—if he contradicts the infallible teaching of the Church. That is why theologians were able to correct Pope John XXII in his erroneous teaching from the pulpit; and it is why Catholics today can tell right from wrong teaching, even if they have a rank lower than the prelate who is committing the error.
A prime historical example of this is found in the case of a lawyer named Eusebius, who pointed out that Nestorius, a high-ranking Archbishop in Constantinople, the highest ranking prelate after the Pope, was wrong when he denied that Mary is the Mother of God. Eusebius stood up in his pew on Christmas Day, during Mass, and denounced Nestorius for preaching heresy. Yet all the “high-ranking” priests and bishops had remained silent in the face of Nestorius' heresy. Thus, a mere layman was right and all the rest of them were in error. The Council of Ephesus was called to hear the matter, and it was solemnly and infallibly defined that Mary is the Mother of God. And since Nestorius refused to recant, he was deposed and declared a heretic. Nestorius was excommunicated!
To summarize, truth is not a matter of numbers or rank; truth is a matter of what Christ and God have revealed in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, what has been solemnly defined by the Catholic Church, and what the Catholic Church has always taught—taught always, not just since 1965!
The Disastrous Effects
History likewise provides us with a prime example of what can happen to the Church when even one dogma is contradicted on a wide scale. The heresy of Arianism caused catastrophic confusion in the Church from 336 A.D. to 381 A.D. Arianism was condemned in 325 A.D.; and yet in 336, it arose again. Beginning around 336, the heresy eventually claimed about 90% of the bishops before it was finally defeated about fifty years later. In the resulting confusion and loss of faith, even the great St. Athanasius was “excommunicated” by the Pope in 357. By 381 Arianism had been defeated by the First Council of Constantinople. However, it was still in full bloom for some time between 360 and 380. The results were utterly devastating to the Church.
The Arian crisis has more to teach us about the probable contents of the missing text of the Third Secret. One reason the Arians were able to succeed for a time, was that they “successfully” attacked a dogma that had been solemnly and infallibly defined at the Council of Nicea in 325—that Christ is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father. This solemn and infallible definition is in the Credo of the Council of Nicea, which we say every Sunday at Mass.
The Arians overturned the definition by getting many of the “faithful” to argue for replacing it with a false definition that was not infallible. In 336 they replaced the Greek word Homoousion with another word Homoiousion. The word Homoousion basically means “consubstantial” with the Father. For God the Son to be consubstantial with the Father, the Son must not only be God but the same one God as the Father, so that the substance of the Father is the substance of the Son, even though the Person of the Father is not the Person of the Son. Thus, there are three Persons in one God—Father, Son and Holy Ghost—but there is only one God, with one substance, in three Persons. That is the mystery of the Trinity. The new word Homoiousion, however, means “of similar substance” to the Father. Thus, the critical phrase in the dogma— “consubstantial with the Father”—was changed to “of similar substance with the Father” or “like the Father.”
Thus the Arians brought about mass confusion in the Church by adding one letter to the word Homoousion to create a new word with a new meaning: Homoiousion. They attacked a solemn definition, claiming that their new definition would be better than the solemn definition. But, of course, the new definition could not be better than the solemn definition, because the solemn definition of the Council of Nicea was infallible.
By adding one letter to one word, the Arians got rid of an infallible definition. This opened the way for the Arians and the semi-Arians, leading to actual warfare. People were martyred, persecuted, driven out into the desert, driven into exile over this one change to one infallible dogma. St. Athanasius was driven into exile five different times by the Synod of Egypt (and spent at least 17 years in exile as a result.) But he was right and the heretical bishops of that Synod were all wrong.
Infallible Definitions Are Higher
Why did Athanasius know he was right? Because he clung to the infallible definition, no matter what everyone else said. Not all the learning in the world, nor all the rank of office, can substitute for the truth of one infallibly defined Catholic teaching. Even the simplest member of the faithful, clinging to an infallible definition, will know more than the most “learned” theologian who denies or undermines the definition. That is the whole purpose of the Church's infallibly defined teaching—to make us independent of the mere opinions of men, however learned, however high their rank.
Now, in 325 the solemn definition of the Council of Nicea was infallible, but many people then did not fully realize that solemn definitions of the Faith were infallible. That is, at this time in Church history the Church had not yet issued the solemn definition teaching that the definitions of Faith are infallible. But in 1870, the First Vatican Council solemnly and infallibly defined the infallibility of the Church's solemn definitions. Now we know, infallibly, that solemn definitions are infallible. Once again: they cannot fail— ever.
The Infallible Definitions
In our day, therefore, there is no excuse for being taken in by heresy and giving up the defense of solemn definitions. But that is precisely what is happening today, just as in the time of Arius. Churchmen are judging things in light of the Second Vatican Council instead of judging the Second Vatican Council in light of the infallible definitions. They have forgotten that the infallible definitions, not Vatican II, are the unchanging standard by which one measures every doctrine, just as a 36-inch yardstick is the unchanging standard for measuring a yard. One does not suddenly decide that the new standard for measuring a yard is a 35-inch stick. Likewise, the Church cannot suddenly decide that Vatican II is the new yardstick of the Faith.
And so we arrive again, after a more detailed examination, at the crux of the Third Secret. This is why it begins with Our Lady's reference to the dogma of the Faith. This is why Sister Lucy said the Third Secret would be “much clearer” after 1960. And here it must be noted that we are clearly living in the midst of the period of calamity the Third Secret predicts. How do we know this? Because the Virgin has told us that the Secret would “be clearer” as of 1960 and She has also told us that in the end Her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Since the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart is obviously not yet upon us, we must be living in the interim period between 1960 and that final Triumph—that is, the period encompassed by the prophecy of the Third Secret.
Now what we have seen since the Second Vatican Council is, again, an attack—a very subtle, indirect attack—on the solemn definitions of the Church. We have had a so-called pastoral council that refused to speak with solemn definitions and—in the view of some—actually went against certain solemn definitions. But the Council, as we have seen, wished to be “pastoral”, to avoid solemn definitions, to avoid condemnations of error, as Pope John XXIII declared in his opening speech.
Well, what is wrong with that? What is wrong is that by the subtle mistake of refusing to make solemn definitions, the door is opened for a Council to use language that could undermine existing solemn definitions—exactly this trick was used by the Arians in the Fourth Century in order to bring about confusion in the Church. And they almost succeeded in overcoming the whole Church.
This same process has been occurring again since the opening of the Second Vatican Council. But the faithful have a remedy for the problem: Vatican II is not authoritative to the extent it did not exercise its supreme Magisterium, its power to define doctrine and its power to anathematize error. Since it did not exercise this authority, everything taught by Vatican II that had not been taught infallibly before Vatican II has to be examined in light of the infallible dogmatic definitions and teachings of the Catholic Church.
However, that is not what is happening today. What is happening today is people are redefining “the faith” in light of Vatican II. It is surely this process that Our Lady of Fatima speaks about when, going right to the heart of the matter, She says that the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved in Portugal—but clearly lost in many other places—telling Sister Lucy that this warning must be made known by 1960, by which time the Council had been announced.
This conclusion is confirmed by the Pope's sermons at Fatima in 1982 and 2000. In 1982 the Pope said that the bases of our salvation were being undermined. And in 2000, in his sermon during the beatification of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco, Pope John Paul II warned us about the dangers to our salvation today by telling us that “The Message of Fatima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the ‘dragon’ whose ‘tail swept down a third of the stars of Heaven, and dragged them to the earth’ (Apoc. 12:4).” Again, where do we find this in the revealed parts of the Fatima Message? Nowhere. It must, therefore, be in the Third Secret. The Pope is telling us that the Third Secret concerns dangers to the Faith and that one-third of the Catholic clergy are involved.
The Attack is From Within the Church
Now we will focus on yet another particular of the Third Secret's essence. The Pope also pointed out that the attack on the Catholic Faith is coming from within. He said in 1982: “Can the Mother with all the force of the love that She fosters in the Holy Spirit and who desires everyone's salvation, can She remain silent when She sees the very bases of Her children's salvation undermined?” The word undermine implies a weakening of the foundation of our salvation from within. An external enemy of the Church attacks from without, an infiltrator from within. In the latter case, the attack is not expected and everyone's guard is down; the attacker is viewed as a “friend.”
So we have Pope John Paul II telling us that the Catholic Faith is being undermined from within (May 13, 1982: “the very bases of Her children's salvation undermined”) by the Catholic clergy (May 13, 2000: “one-third of the stars of Heaven”).
We conclude this point by noting that there is another source from which we can glean this aspect of the Third Secret. In 1963 the German publication Neues Europa revealed what was purported to be part of the Third Secret: that Cardinal would oppose Cardinal, bishop oppose bishop. We know that when asked whether the Neues Europa account should be published, Cardinal Ottaviani, who also had read the Third Secret—who had a very dry personality and was pretty much indifferent to most apparitions—exclaimed very emphatically: “Publish 10,000 copies! Publish 20,000 copies! Publish 30,000 copies!”18
Then we have the testimony of the late Father Malachi Martin that the message of Garabandal contains the Third Secret or parts of the Third Secret. Father Martin, who knew the Third Secret because he had read it himself, and who also read the message of Garabandal, said that because the Vatican chose not to release the Third Secret in 1960, Our Lady had appeared at Garabandal in 1961 in order to disclose the Third Secret. What is in the Garabandal message? The Garabandal message says, among other things: “many Cardinals, bishops, and priests are on the road to hell and ‘dragging’ many more souls with them”. Notice yet again the concept of dragging souls down into hell. The same terminology appears in Sister Lucy's remark to Father Fuentes that “The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag numerous souls to hell,”19 and in the Pope's sermon on May 13, 2000, which refers to the scene in the Book of the Apocalypse in which the tail of the dragon drags one-third of the stars (consecrated souls) from Heaven.
While the Garabandal apparitions are not formally approved, the Bishop with jurisdiction over Garabandal—that is, the Bishop of Santander—said that nothing in the message was contrary to the Catholic Faith.
The Attack Includes Bad Practices
Here it must be noted that whether a member of the clergy (or the laity) is good or bad is not determined solely by whether he verbally upholds or does not uphold the Faith. Besides comparing the teaching (i.e. the words) of a priest, a bishop, a Cardinal or the Pope to the infallible teaching of the Magisterium, one needs to see if the person is also upholding the orthodox practices of the Catholic Church by his words (written and spoken), by his actions and by the Christian conduct of his life. One needs to know if the person (priest, bishop, Cardinal or Pope) is engaging in heteropraxis— practices contrary to the Faith—such as disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament.
The Faith can be attacked by actions done in either an obvious or a subtle manner. Our actions must support our words. We uphold the Faith by upholding the doctrines in our thoughts, words, and writings and also by upholding the pious practices of the Church that support our adherence to the Faith. By introducing novel practices into the local parish (or the local diocese or the local ecclesiastical province, or even into the Universal Church as Catholic Doctors have written it is possible to happen) that give the impression that the defined Faith is not to be believed, one scandalizes the little ones and even some learned souls by this heteropraxis.
For example, we know by the solemn definitions of the Council of Trent that God guarantees to us that the consecrated Host is indeed His Real Presence—that is, the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, together with His Soul and Divinity. Now, the Protestant rebels wanted to deny this article of the Faith and they wanted to influence others to do the same. So they reintroduced the practice of Communion in the hand (it had been originally introduced as a widespread practice by the Arian heretics of the Fourth Century to deny that Jesus is God). By this symbolic action, their denial would be clear to all.
Heteropraxis has been used in our day by the enemies of the Church to scandalize many Catholics into losing their Faith in the Real Presence. That is why the abuse of Communion in the hand was forbidden by the universal law of the Church for many centuries and is still forbidden by the law of the Church to this day. The recent indult [i.e. permission] to go against the letter of the law is only allowed if this practice does not lead to the lessening of the Faith in the Real Presence and does not lead to less respect for the Real Presence. But it always does, as we can see from our own everyday experience with this form of heteropraxis.20
The practices which uphold orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, are referred to as orthopraxis (i.e. orthodox Catholic practices). These include: genuflecting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, distributing/receiving Communion on the tongue, maintaining the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament as the primary focus of attention (and worship) in the center of the sanctuary; and the solemn behavior of the clergy within the sanctuary, showing due reverence to the Presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament. These examples of orthopraxis (orthodox actions upholding the Faith) testify to the truth of the dogma that the Blessed Sacrament is the Real Presence of God—the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread—as well as the proper respect of man to God.
Examples of heteropraxis against the dogma of the Real Presence include Communion in the hand. This form of heteropraxis conveys the erroneous message to the faithful that the Blessed Sacrament is just not that important, that It is just bread, and promotes the heresy that It is not the Real Presence of God—the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread. Another example of heteropraxis in this area is the permanent removal of the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament from the sanctuary to a side room or broom closet, so that the primary focus of attention (and worship) in the sanctuary becomes the chair of the “celebrant” or “Presider” over the “assembly”. The message is subtly given, and received, that the person sitting in the chair is more important than the Blessed Sacrament. And since the “Presider” (or president of the “assembly”) represents the people, then subtly the message is given that God is less important than the people.
These examples remind us yet again of the words of Pope Pius XII, quoted earlier:
From Pope Pius XII's words, it seems then that these above-mentioned forms of heteropraxis against the Blessed Sacrament were explicitly mentioned in the Third Secret of Fatima, because while Pope Pius XII relates them to the Fatima Message, they are not mentioned in any part of the Message that has been published. That is why they must be mentioned in the Third Secret—that is, the part that is not yet published. Pope Pius XII clearly says that it is Our Lady of Fatima who warns us against “the suicide of altering the Faith in Her liturgy , Her theology and Her soul.” Therefore, the Third Secret warns us about both false doctrine and heteropraxis as attacks upon “the dogma of the Faith.”
The Attack Includes the
As we see today, with the eruption of a massive, worldwide scandal involving the sexual misconduct of members of the priesthood, there is a third line of attack on the Church during this time of great crisis: the moral corruption of many consecrated souls. The tail of the dragon sweeps souls from the heavens—down from their consecrated state—not only through heterodoxy and heteropraxis, but also through immorality. Let us recall the statements of Sister Lucy to Father Fuentes:
Today we see widespread corruption among the Catholic clergy which is now being manifested in sexual scandals of an unspeakable nature in dioceses throughout North America, Europe and Africa. The tail of the dragon has dragged many members of the clergy down into the rankest forms of immorality.
As a result, the credibility of the many priests who do honor their vows and keep the faith is being destroyed, along with the very credibility of the Church as an institution. Even if there is good doctrine and good practice, the benefits of these often are negated when moral corruption undermines the credibility of the Church.
Who Is Responsible?
Now the question arises: But who is identified in the Third Secret as being responsible for the undermining of the Faith through heterodoxy, heteropraxis and the moral corruption and fall of consecrated souls? First of all, it is members of the Vatican apparatus itself. We note again the revelation of Cardinal Ciappi, Pope John Paul II's official papal theologian, that “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” Thus, the responsibility lies first and foremost with men in the Vatican. In this, we see the fulfillment not only of the Third Secret, but also the warning of Pope St. Pius X in his 1907 encyclical Pascendi, wherein he writes: “The partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; but ... in Her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open.” These enemies are lay people and priests “thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church”, and who put themselves forward “as reformers of the Church”.22
St. Pius X insists:
But then it will be asked: “How do we know which of the clergy are part of the one-third of the stars alluded to by Pope John Paul II; how do we know who the partisans of error are?” The answer again lies in what has been infallibly defined. Those who uphold the Faith, who hold fast to the doctrine of Jesus, are friends. (Apoc. 12:17) Those who do not are foes. As Our Lord said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” (Mt. 7:16) One can tell whom to trust by whether they are upholding the Catholic Faith as defined by the solemn definitions. Another sign is that they are living their Catholic Faith as well.
In conclusion, when Pope Paul VI lamented in 1967 that “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church” and in 1973 that “the opening to the world has become a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking” he was only confirming the contents of the Third Secret; so was Pope John Paul II in his more veiled statements in 1982 and 2000. The first two parts of the Great Secret of Fatima warn of the spread of Russia's errors throughout the world. The Third Secret, in its full contents, is surely a warning that those errors will infiltrate the Church Herself, and especially taking hold through the “opening to the world” at Vatican II. The infiltration of the Catholic Church by Masonic, Communist, neo-modernist and homosexual elements is seen in the ruinous results of their activities and the loss of faith among Catholics in the pew.
To those who scoff at the claim that such a disaster has befallen the Church in our time, we can only say that they are blind, and that they have ignored the Church's own history, which shows that something very similar has happened before. We alluded earlier to Cardinal Newman's description of the state of the Church during the Arian heresy. A more extended quotation from that description, found in his book On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, suffices to prove that the state of affairs in the Church today is not without precedent:
The point of Cardinal Newman's book was that it was the laity, clinging to the defined dogma of the Faith along with a few good bishops such as Saint Athanasius, who kept the Faith alive during the Arian crisis. So it is today.
But one of the great differences between the Arian crisis and the current crisis in the Church is that the Virgin Mary not only gave us a warning many years in advance of the current crisis, but also the means to avoid it by following Her requests at Fatima. To have deprived the Church of the warning contained in the Third Secret, to have covered up the prophecy of apostasy that implicates the very men who have imposed a ruinous new orientation upon the Church and allowed Her to be invaded by the enemy, to have thus prevented the faithful from understanding the cause of it all and arming themselves against it, is another key element of the great and terrible crime in question here.
Yet the cover-up has not succeeded. The Message of Fatima has not been buried; disbelief in the completeness of the purported disclosure of the Third Secret is widespread and growing. Recognizing this, the members of the Vatican apparatus we have identified attempted yet another burial on November 17, 2001, thus aggravating their crime against the Church and the world. We will now consider this development.
1. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima - Vol. III, p. 704.
2. Ibid., p. 687.
3. Ibid., pp. 705-706.
4. The Whole Truth About Fatima - Vol. III, pp. 822-823. See also Jesus magazine, November 11, 1984, p. 79. See also The Fatima Crusader, Issue 37, Summer 1991, p. 7.
5. The Whole Truth About Fatima - Vol. III, p. 676.
6. Contre-Réforme Catholique , December 1997.
7. See Father Gerard Mura, “The Third Secret of Fatima: Has It Been Completely Revealed?”, the periodical Catholic, (published by the Transalpine Redemptorists, Orkney Isles, Scotland, Great Britain) March 2002.
9. The words in parenthesis in this paragraph are now inserted into the Tridentine profession of faith by order of Blessed Pope Pius IX in a decree issued by the Holy Office, January 20, 1877. (Acta Sanctae Sedis, X , 71 ff.)
10. In Paragraph 6 of the Encyclical Quanta Cura which was issued with the Syllabus on Dec. 8, 1864, Blessed Pope Pius IX stated solemnly: “Amid, therefore, so great perversity of depraved opinions, We, well remembering Our Apostolic Office, and very greatly solicitous for Our most holy Religion, for sound doctrine and the salvation of souls which is entrusted to Us by God, and (solicitous also) for the welfare of human society itself, have thought it right to raise up Our Apostolic voice. Therefore, by Our Apostolic Authority, We reprobate, proscribe and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this Letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.” (Our emphasis) Taken from The Popes Against Modern Errors, (TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, 1999) p. 21.
11. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1987) pp. 381-382.
12. Ibid., p. 380.
13. The Balamand Statement, No. 30, June 23, 1993.
14. See footnote 10 of this chapter.
15. Vatican Council I - 1870 A.D., see Denzinger (Dz.) 1836.
16. Vatican Council I, see Dz. 1800.
17. Through his negligence, Pope Honorius had been largely responsible for the spread of the Monothelite heresy by asserting that there is only one will in Christ, the divine will—an error that implicitly denies that Christ is both true God and true man—, although he understood this in a Catholic sense, namely that there could not be a conflict between the divine will and the human will of Christ. However, his formulation allowed the Monothelite heretics to assert that there was only one will in Christ and that the Pope agreed with them.
18. Personal testimony of retired Vatican Msgr. Corrado Balducci to Father Nicholas Gruner, Christopher Ferrara and various other witnesses. This fact is also attested to by Marco Tosatti in his book Il Segreto Non Svelato (The Secret Not Revealed), (Edizioni Piemme Spa, Casale Monferrato, Italy, May 2002), p. 86.
Marco Tosatti writes: “Father Mastrocola, director of a religious newsletter ‘Santa Rita’, asked Cardinal Ottaviani the permission to reprint the prophecies made in ‘Neues Europa’. The reply was encouraging, but in the light of the ‘revealing’ of the secret of June 26, 2000, embarrassing. ‘Do it, do it’—replied the Cardinal custodian of the Third Secret—‘publish as many copies as you want, because the Madonna wanted it to be published already in 1960.’ And of that text Vatican Radio also spoke in 1977 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the trip of Pope Paul VI to Fatima. The text of ‘Neues Europa’ received great circulation and was republished even in the L'Osservatore Romano Sunday edition of October 15, 1978”.
The Italian original is as follows: “Padre Mastrocola, direttore di un foglio religioso, «Santa Rita», chiese al cardinale Ottaviani il permesso di riprendere l'anticipazione fatta da «Neues Europa». La risposta fu incoraggiante, ma alla luce dello «svelamento» del segreto del 26 giugno 2000, imbarazzante. «Fatelo, fatelo pure—rispose il porporato custode del terzo segreto—pubblicatene quante copie vi pare, perché la Madonna voleva che fosse reso noto già nel 1960». E di quel testo parlò anche la Radio Vaticana nel 1977, nel decennale del viaggio di Paolo VI a Fatima. Il testo di «Neues Europa» conobbe grande fortuna, e venne ripreso persino il 15 ottobre 1978 dall' «Osservatore della Domenica»”.
19. See Francis Alban, Fatima Priest, First Edition, (Good Counsel Publications, Pound Ridge, New York, 1997) Appendix III, “A Prophetic Interview with Sister Lucy of Fatima”, p. 312. See also The Whole Truth About Fatima - Vol. III, pp. 503-510 for the text of this interview together with further explanations by Frère Michel.
20. See Fatima Priest, Editions 1 and 2, Appendix V, “Regarding Communion in the Hand”. See also The Fatima Crusader, Issue 28, June-July 1989, pp. 33ff, 34ff, 36ff; The Fatima Crusader, Issue 29, Sept.-Nov. 1989, p. 16; and The Fatima Crusader, Issue 7, Spring 1981, p. 11.
21. Pope Pius XII, quoted in the book Pius XII Devant L'Histoire, pp. 52-53.
22. Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, para. no. 2.
23. Ibid., no. 3.
24. Ibid., no. 61.
25. Ibid., no. 3.
26. John Henry Newman, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, (Kansas City, Sheed and Ward, 1961) p. 77.