The Pope’s second-in-command, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, denied that the Church was suppressing a vision of the end of the world said to have been revealed by the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside at Fatima in Portugal exactly 90 years ago.
The three “Secrets of Fatima” were written down by one of the children, Lucia Dos Santos – who became a Carmelite nun – and sent to the Vatican in a sealed envelope. Two of the “secrets” were made public, apparently predicting the inferno of 20th-century world war and totalitarianism and the eventual reconversion of Communist Russia to Christianity.
Pope John Paul II suggested that the third “secret” predicted the 1981 attempt on his life. He failed to satisfy conspiracy theorists however, with many accusing the Vatican of disclosing only part of the last Fatima secret.
Antonio Socci, a Catholic journalist and author of The Fourth Secret of Fatima, said that he had at first accepted John Paul’s explanation. His researches led him to believe however that the late Pope’s revelation had been “partial”.
He said that the undisclosed portion of the “secret” predicted a crisis of faith in the West and the collapse of the Church hierarchy in the face of a tidal wave of “apostasy and heresy”. Marco Tosatti, a Vatican watcher and author of The Prophecies of Fatima, also said that the Vatican was believed to be “hiding something” so as “not to alarm millions of the faithful”.
But yesterday, as tens of thousands gathered at Fatima, 130 kilometres (81 miles) north of Lisbon, to mark the 90th anniversary of the “visions”, Cardinal Bertone insisted that the idea that the secret predicted “catastrophic world events” or the collapse of the Christian Church were “pure fantasy”.
The cardinal has been fighting conspiracy theories involving the Church, such as The Da Vinci Code, which he dismissed as a “pack of lies”. In The Last Fatima Visionary: My Meetings with Sister Lucia, Cardinal Bertone says that before her death in 2005 at the age of 97 the nun confirmed John Paul’s account of the “third secret”.
“There is no fourth secret,” he declared. “Everything has been published and correctly interpreted.” He hinted that “antiChristians” were behind the conspiracy theories.
In a preface to Cardinal Bertone’s book, Pope Benedict XVI writes that publication of the “third secret” by his predecessor “unveiled the truth amid the confused framework of apocalyptic interpretations and speculation in the Church”.
“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 . . . ”
“ . . . 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”
“A bishop dressed in white . . . falls to the ground, as if dead, after a volley of gunfire”
Sources: theotokos / catholicnewsagency
May 14, 2007
Richard Owen in Rome