Fátima - Third Secret


Until Saturday 13 May 2000 the Third Secret of Fátima was still a secret, kept in the Vatican's Secret Archives. What was revealed by Cardinal Sodano in Fátima, in anticipation of its publication with commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, puts to rest the claims of apocalyptic natural disasters contained in some so-called Third Secrets. The fabricated nature of such claims was already known from the statement of the former Bishop of Leiria-Fátima who took possession of the Third Secret from Sr. Lucia Santos, and later delivered it to Pope Pius XII (who did not open it). The bishop said that while he did not read it, he noted that it was brief, a few lines.

As far as we know, the only ones to have read it are Pope John XXIII, his secretary Fr. Capovilla (now retired Archbishop Capovilla), Cardinal Ottaviani (late head of the Doctrinal Congregation), a Portuguese priest who translated it for the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger. If others have read the Secret it has not been publicly reported, though we can assume, given its imminent release, that other collaborators of the present Holy Father have now done so.

In October 1997 both Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Capovilla publicly denied suggestions in the Italian press by Fr. René Laurentin and journalist Victor Messori that the Fátima Secret reflected badly on the course the Church has taken since the Second Vatican Council. In this view Pope John XXIII had not released it because it contradicted his optimistic outlook.

Providing an insight to its actual contents, Archbishop Capovilla responded that it concerned "an extraordinary event," a "manifestation of the supernatural." For his part, Cardinal Ratzinger stated in an interview with a Portuguese radio station, "For those who are curious, I can offer assurance: the Virgin is not engaged in sensationalism, nor in feeding fears, or offering apocalyptic visions." The key to her message is its emphasis on prayer and penance. "She guides men toward her Son. That is what is essential."

Shortly after this controversy Sr. Lucia said in a rare interview with Spanish Television that the Third Secret was for the guidance of the Pope, who was never obliged to release it. 

Third Secret of Fatima

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL


RATZINGER REJECTS RUMORS ON SECRET OF FÁTIMA

(Catholic World News story, 10/14/97)

VATICAN (CWN) -- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has directly contradicted a recent report regarding the content of the mysterious third secret of Fátima.

In an interview with the Italian publication Gazettino di Venezia, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed the speculations of Father Rene Laurentin that in that third secret, the Virgin Mary had predicted a period of dissent from Catholic doctrine, leading to grave divisions in the Church. In remarks broadcast on Italian television, Father Laurentin-- who has gained special prominence through his work on Marian apparitions -- said that Pope John XXIII had chosen to keep the secret from the public in 1960, fearful of causing further intramural divisions.

But Cardinal Ratzinger rejected those ideas, and urged the faithful not to be preoccupied with such "fantasies and fictions." He pointed only a few people have been informed about the third secret of Fátima, and Father Laurentin's name is not on that list.

"Three popes have become acquainted [with the secret]," the cardinal observed, "and none of them has judged it opportune to make it public. They had good reasons for their decision."

In a separate interview with a Portuguese radio station, Cardinal Ratzinger added: "For those who are curious, I can offer assurance: the Virgin is not engaged in sensationalism, nor in feeding fears, or offering apocalyptic visions." The key to the understanding of the message of Fátima, he said, lies in Mary's emphasis on prayer and penance. "She guides men toward her Son," he said; "That is what is essential."


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