of Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Concerning the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima
[At the end of the
Mass of Beatification and Eucharistic Benediction, Angelo Cardinal
Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, gave the following address on
behalf of the Holy Father.]
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!
At the conclusion of this solemn
celebration, I feel bound to offer to our beloved Holy Father John
Paul II, on behalf of all present, heartfelt good wishes for his
approaching Eightieth Birthday and to thank him for his significant
pastoral ministry for the good of all God's Holy Church.
On the solemn occasion of his visit to
Fátima, His Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you.
As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fátima has been to beatify
the two "little shepherds". Nevertheless
he also wishes his pilgrimage to be a renewed gesture of gratitude to
Our Lady for her protection during these years of his papacy. This
protection seems also to be linked to the so-called "third
part" of the secret of Fátima.
That text contains a prophetic vision
similar to those found in Sacred Scripture, which do not describe with
photographic clarity the details of future events, but rather
synthesize and condense against a unified background events spread out
over time in a succession and a duration which are not specified. As a
result, the text must be interpreted in a symbolic key.
The vision of Fátima concerns above
all the war waged by atheist systems against the Church and
Christians, and it describes the immense suffering endured by the
witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millennium.
It is an interminable Way of the Cross led by the Popes of the
According to the interpretation of the
"little shepherds", which was also recently confirmed by
Sister Lucia, the "Bishop clothed in white" who prays for
all the faithful is the Pope. As he makes his way with great effort
towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred
(Bishops, priests, men and women religious and many lay persons), he
too falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.
After the assassination attempt of 13
May 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was "a
motherly hand which guided the bullet's path", enabling the
"dying Pope" to halt "at the threshold of death"
(Pope John Paul II. Meditation with the Italian Bishops from the
Policlinico Gemelli, Insegnamenti, vol XVII/1, 1994, p. 1061). On the
occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, the
Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep
after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the
Shrine. At the behest of the Bishop, the bullet was later set in the
crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima.
The successive events of 1989 led, both
in the Soviet Union and in a number of countries of Eastern Europe, to
the fall of the Communist regime which promoted atheism. For this too
His Holiness offers heartfelt thanks to the Most Holy Virgin. In other
parts of the world, however, attacks against the Church and against
Christians, together with the burden of suffering which they involve,
tragically continue. Even if the events to which the third part of the
Secret of Fátima refers now seem part of the past, Our Lady's call to
conversion and penance, issued at the beginning of the twentieth
century, remains timely and urgent today. "The Lady of the
message seems to read the signs of the times - the signs of our time -
with special insight... The insistent invitation of Mary Most Holy to
penance is nothing but the manifestation of her maternal concern for
the fate of the human family, in need of conversion and
forgiveness" (Pope John Paul II, Message for the 1997 World Day
of the Sick, N. 1, Insegnamenti, vol XIX/2, 1996, p. 561). In order
that the faithful may better receive the message of Our Lady of
Fátima, the Pope has charged the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith with making public the third part of the secret, after the
preparation of an appropriate commentary.
Let us thank Our Lady of Fátima for
her protection. To her maternal intercession let us entrust the Church
of the Third Millennium.
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix!
of Fatima - the
Statements about the Third Secret
Consecration of the World