Fatima Today - The Third Millennium
 
by Fr. Robert J. Fox


Fatima Today - Third Millennium
Chapter 18 Continued

It is significant that the Pope’s pilgrimage to Fatima, May 13, 1982, coincided with a meeting in Moscow of about 480 leaders of various religions of the world for a religious peace conference in an appeal against nuclear arms. The fact that Communist Russia permitted religious leaders, including U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, to meet in its country, was in itself significant. Billy Graham who left Russia on May 13, as the Pope was in Fatima, found himself criticized for saying he found Soviet churches to be well-attended, and He saw more religious freedom than he expected. The country had been officially atheist for 65 years even though in its past history the most eloquent voices of Russian history have rung with a powerful note of faith and Russia was once known as “Holy Russia.”

It was significant that on May 14, 1982, just one day after the attempted collegial consecration, the AP Religious Writer, George W. Cornell, wrote for papers across the United States the following:

While evidence has indicated Soviet government attempts to manipulate Russian church leaders, they nevertheless remain public symbols of a persisting faith among the people.

It is a deep-rooted thing, a part of an ingrained memory, of a Russia “soul” that has pulsed through the works of Russian literary greats, of the 19th Century Dostoevski and Tolstoy, of the contemporary Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

He himself, now in U.S. exile, has maintained that Christianity’s greatest strength, forged in res of opposition, will eventually emerge in Russia when it is free. Even under present circumstances, recurrent reports indicate an increased turning faith.

“Religious belief is growing amazingly, despite intensified atheist propaganda,” says the Rev. Blahoslave Hruby, editor of a documentary journal, Religion in Communist Dominated Areas.

Some experts on the situation have said that believing Christians in Russia outnumber Marxists.

The Russian Revolution that took place in 1917 put the Communists in power. In May of that year Czar Nicholas II had abdicated under pressure from members of the national legislature and a provisional government was established. On November 7, the provisional government was overthrown and a communist government headed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin took power, forming what remains to the present day the modern state of the Soviet Union.

Pope Paul VI had called Sister Lucia from her convent in Coimbra to the Cova da Iria when he went on pilgrimage to Fatima in 1967. Now again, in 1982 Sister Lucia came to Fatima to be present at the Mass with the Pope. It was reported that tears of joy were seen to run down Sister Lucia’s face as Pope John Paul II finished the consecration at the end of the three-hour Mass. Photos revealed Sister Lucia smiling “bright as the sun” as she stood with the Pope after her private meeting with him. Sister Lucia had waited long for the Collegial Consecration and while millions of petitions had gone to the popes over the years, it now seemed to be officially conducted by the Pope right at Fatima itself, 65 years after the first apparition of Our Lady.

Before the papal pilgrimage, speculation was carried in the papers as journalists again made statements to the effect: “The four-day visit may shed some light on the third secret of Fatima.” However, the Pope had much greater things on his mind. The Pope spoke:

And so I come here today because on this very day last year, in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, the attempt on the Pope’s life was made, in mysterious coincidence with the anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima, which occurred on May 13, 1917.

I seemed to recognize in the coincidence of the dates a special call to come to this place. And so, today I am here. I have come in order to thank Divine Providence in this place which the Mother of God seems to have chosen in a particular way. Misericordiae Domini, quia non sumus consumpti [Through God’s mercy we were spared—Lam. 3:22]. . . .

The Church has always taught and continues to proclaim that God’s revelation was brought to completion in Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of that revelation, and that “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord.” (Dei Verbum, 4). The Church evaluates and judges private revelations by the criterion of conformity with the single public Revelation.

If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.

“Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:15): these are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity. The message of Fatima is, in its basic nucleus, a call to conversion and repentance, as in the Gospel. . . .

When Jesus on the Cross said: “Woman, behold, your son” (Jn. 19:26), in a new way he opened his Mother’s Heart, the Immaculate Heart, and revealed to it the new dimensions and extent of the love to which she was called in the Holy Spirit by the power of the Sacrifice of the Cross.

In the words of Fatima we seem to find this dimension of motherly love, whose range covers the whole of man’s path towards God; the path that leads through this world and that goes, through Purgatory, beyond this world. The solicitude of the Mother of the Saviour, is solicitude for the work of salvation: the work of her Son. It is solicitude for the salvation, the eternal salvation, of all. Now that 65 years have passed since that May 13, 1917, it is difficult to fail to notice how the range of this salfivic love of the Mother embraces, in a particular way, our century.

In the light of a mother’s love we understand the whole message of the Lady of Fatima. The greatest obstacle to man’s journey toward God is sin, perseverance in sin, and finally, denial of God. The deliberate blotting out of God from the world of human thought. The detachment from him of the whole of man’s earthly activity. The rejection of God by man.

In reality, the eternal salvation of man is only in God. Man’s rejection of God, if it becomes definitive, leads logically to God’s rejection of man (cf. Mt. 7:23, 10:33), to damnation.

And so, while the message of Our Lady of Fatima is a motherly one, it is also strong and decisive. It sounds severe. It sounds like John the Baptist speaking on the banks of the Jordan. It invites to repentance. It gives a warning. It calls to prayer. It recommends the Rosary.

The message is addressed to every human being. The love of the Saviour’s Mother reaches every place touched by the work of salvation. Her care extends to every individual of our time, and to all the societies, nations and peoples. Societies menaced by apostasy, threatened by moral degradation. The collapse of morality involves the collapse of societies.

The Pope went on to speak of the meaning of consecration: “Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.”

Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to Him who is Holy, infinitely Holy; it means accepting her help—by having recourse to her motherly Heart, which beneath the Cross was opened to love for every human being, for the whole world—in order to offer the world, the individual human being, mankind as a whole, and all the nations to Him who is infinitely Holy. God’s holiness showed itself in the redemption of man, of the world, of the whole of mankind, and of the nations: a redemption brought about through the Sacrifice of the Cross. “For their sake I consecrate myself,” Jesus had said (Jn. 17:19).

By the power of the redemption the world and man have been consecrated. They have been consecrated to Him who is infinitely Holy. They have been offered and entrusted to Love itself, merciful love.

The Mother of Christ calls us, invites us to join with the Church of the living God in the consecration of the world, in this act of confiding by which the world, mankind as a whole, the nations, and each individual person are presented to the Eternal Father with the power of the Redemption won by Christ. They are offered in the Heart of the Redeemer which was pierced on the Cross.

In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium and its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) the Second Vatican Council amply illustrated the reasons for the link between the Church and the world of today. Furthermore, its teaching on Mary’s special place in the mystery of Christ and the Church bore mature fruit in Paul VI’s action in calling Mary Mother of the Church and thus indicating more profoundly the nature of her union with the Church and of her care for the world, for mankind, for each human being, and for all the nations: what characterizes them is her motherhood.

This brought a further deepening of understanding of the meaning of the act of consecrating that the Church is called upon to perform with the help of the Heart of Christ’s Mother and ours.

Today John Paul II, successor of Peter, continuer of the work of Pius, John, and Paul, and particular heir of the Second Vatican Council, presents himself before the Mother of the Son of God in her Shrine at Fatima. In what way does he come?

He presents himself, reading again with trepidation the motherly call to penance, to conversion, the ardent appeal of the heart of Mary that resounded at Fatima 65 years ago. Yes, he reads again with trepidation in his heart, because he sees how many people and societies—how many Christians—have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fatima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings.

But for this very reason the evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother’s message, remains ever relevant. It is still more relevant than it was 65 years ago. It is still more urgent. And so it is to be the subject of next year’s Synod of Bishops which we are already preparing for.

The successor of Peter presents himself here also as a witness to the immensity of human suffering, a witness to the almost apocalyptic menaces looking over the nations and mankind as a whole. He is trying to embrace these sufferings with his own weak human heart, as he places himself before the mystery of the Heart of the Mother, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the name of these sufferings and with awareness of the evil that is spreading throughout the world and menacing the individual human being, the nations, and mankind as a whole, Peter’s successor presents himself here with greater faith in the redemption of the world, in the saving Love that is always stronger, always more powerful than any evil.

My heart is oppressed when I see the sin of the world and the whole range of menaces gathering like a dark cloud over mankind, but it also rejoices with hope as I once more do what has been done by my Predecessors, when they consecrated the world to the Heart of the Mother, when they consecrated especially to that Heart those peoples which particularly need to be consecrated. Doing this means consecrating the world to Him who is infinite Holiness. This Holiness means redemption. It means a love more powerful than evil. No “sin of the world” can ever overcome this Love.

Once more this act is being done. Mary’s appeal is not for just once. Her appeal must be taken up by generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new “signs of the times.” It must be unceasingly returned to. It must ever be taken up anew.

The author of the Apocalypse wrote: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them’” (Rev 21:2-3).

This is the faith by which the Church lives.

This is the faith with which the People of God makes its journey.

The dwelling of God is with men on earth even now.

In that dwelling is the Heart of the Bride and Mother, Mary, a Heart adorned with the jewel of her Immaculate Conception. The heart of the Bride and Mother which was opened beneath the Cross by the word of her Son to a great new love for man and the world. The Heart of the Bride and Mother which is aware of all the sufferings of individuals and societies on earth.

The People of God is a pilgrim along the ways of this world in an eschatological direction. It is making its pilgrimage towards the eternal Jerusalem, towards “the dwelling of God with men.” God will there “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

But at present “the former things” are still in existence. They it is that constitute the temporal setting of our pilgrimage.

For that reason we look towards “him who sits upon the throne and says, ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (cf. Rev 21:5).

And together with the Evangelist and Apostle we try to see with the eyes of faith “the new heaven and the new earth”; for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away.

But “the first heaven and the first earth” still exist about us and within us. We cannot ignore it. But this enables us to recognize what an immense grace was granted to us human beings when, in the midst of our pilgrimage, there shone forth on the horizon of the faith of our times this “great portent, a woman” (cf. Rev. 12:1).

Yes, truly we can repeat: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth . . . walking in the straight path before our God . . . you have avenged our ruin.

Truly indeed, you are blessed.

Yes, here and throughout the Church in the heart of every individual and in the world as a whole, may you be blessed, O Mary, our sweet Mother.

The news media, while the Pope was in Fatima, became obsessed with the attempt on the Pope’s life. While it was significant that just one year earlier there was a near successful attempt on the Pope’s life, leaving him within seconds of death, this time at Fatima another attacker did not succeed in touching the Pope. While the attacker at Fatima came within four or five feet of the Pope, Our Lady was not to permit any physical harm to her favorite son on earth, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, not while he was on her hallowed grounds in the Cova da Iria at Fatima.

What the news media did not address was the most significant act of all which took place at Fatima on May 13, 1982, the attempted Collegial Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The following is the letter which the Cardinal Secretary of State sent, on behalf of the Holy Father, to the Bishops of the world before going to Fatima, May 13, 1982.

From many Bishops and also from a number of Episcopal Conferences, the Holy Father has received letters recalling the Message of Fatima and asking him to renew, by a collegial act, the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by Pope Pius XII on 31 October 1942 and 7 July 1952 (cf. AAS 34 (1942), p. 318 and AAS 44 (1952), p. 511, copies of which are enclosed).

As is well-known, Pope Paul VI made a reference to the 1942 act on 21 November 1964, on the occasion of the closing of the Third Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (cf. AAS 56 (1964), p. 1017), and His Holiness Pope John Paul II, on the Solemnities of Pentecost and of the Immaculate Conception last year, explicitly referred to both the above-mentioned acts.

I now fulfill the honored task of informing you that in the course of his visit to Fatima on May 13 next, when he intends to thank the Blessed Virgin for having saved his life on the occasion of the attack of May 13 last year, the Holy Father also intends, in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world, to renew the two acts whereby Pope Pius XII entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As he asks you to begin now to accompany with your prayer his pilgrimage to Fatima, in order that it may serve to increase in the Church devotion to the Blessed Virgin and be to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity His Holiness cordially sends you his special Apostolic Blessing, which he willingly extends to all in your pastoral care.

An eminent Marian theologian in Europe once told me that the Holy Spirit is speaking in the Church today through Our Lady of Fatima. The words of Pope John Paul at Fatima were especially meaningful in light of this: “Mary’s spiritual motherhood is therefore a sharing in the power of the Holy Spirit, of ‘the giver of life.’” Just five months later at Rome the Pope was to canonize the great Marian Saint of these times, Saint Maximilian Kolbe who wrote boldly of Mary and the Holy Spirit:

The Most Blessed Virgin is the one in whom we venerate the Holy Spirit, for she is his spouse. The third Person of the Blessed Trinity never took flesh; still, our human word “spouse” is far too weak to express the reality of the relationship between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit. We can affirm that she is, in a certain sense, the “incarnation” of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that we love in her; and through her we love the Son.

Father Kolbe was careful to qualify his strong statement with “in a certain sense.” In the last of his writings he wrote: “The Son is incarnate: Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is quasi-incarnate; the Immaculata.” Father Kolbe developed his theology of the Holy Spirit as the Immaculate Conception of God the Father and God the Son within the Holy Trinity, the Person of Love, which they conceive together and he was thus astonished at Mary saying at Lourdes, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” There was such a profound union of wills between Mary, the Immaculata, and the Holy Spirit, as Mary surrendered totally to the Holy Spirit that Mary’s will is absolutely conformed to that of the Holy Spirit as a  dutigul and good spouse would be. The Holy Spirit dwelling in Mary finds Her a choicest temple, a temple of Light.

When God calls us to devotion and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother, in light of these meditated truths, we see in it a call to conform our will to that of the Holy spirit as Mary did, who, under the action of the Holy Spirit pondered and responded perfectly to the Word of God. Pope John Paul II at Fatima in 1982 re-echoed Pius XII who had said: “Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels.” Pope John Paul put it this way: “That message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.” At Fatima Pope John Paul reminded us that entrusting the world and ourselves “the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. . . . Entrusting the world (and ourselves) to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the Cross of the Son.”

The words of the Pope are a call to Eucharistic Reparation, for does not the Sacrifice of the Mass perpetuate the infinite act of reparation, Calvary, since “entrusting” ourselves to the Immaculate Heart “means returning beneath the Cross of the Son?”

On July 13, 1917, Mary announced: “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” On May 13, 1982, the Vicar of Christ came to Fatima to call the world to entrust itself to the Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucia later said the 1982 consecration did not fulfill all the conditions for the Collegial Consecration. Some bishops either did not receive in time the request to join the Pope or just did not do it.

In what has been called the “Last Vision,” Sister Lucia (June 1929) had revealed to her the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity “which I am not permitted to reveal.” At Fatima Pope John Paul II called Mary the “dwelling place of the Most Holy Trinity.” As Sister Lucia saw representations of the Most Holy Trinity, under the left arm of the cross were large letters, as of crystal clear water which ran down over the altar, and formed these words: “Graces and Mercy.”

Pope John Paul II at Fatima called the world back to what Lucia says was revealed in the “Last Vision.” Speaking of sufferings and evil in the world and which menaces the individual human being, “Peter’s successor presents himself here with greater faith in the redemption of the world, in the saving Love that is always more powerful than any evil.” In the words of consecration, the Pope asked that there be revealed, once more, “in the history of the world the infinite power of merciful love.”

Consecration to Mary makes living realities for each of us of the relationships established at our baptism. Jesus became Lord of our lives. The Holy Spirit Who led Jesus from His conception entered us too. Christ’s Father became our Father. His mother became our mother. Consecration to Mary then is really living our baptism. The message is clear to those “pure of heart.” If we do not understand the message, it is because we are not disposed to understand in love the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the “Lady of the Message.” To understand the message we must understand the Mother who brings it.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will require an openness, a surrender to the Holy Spirit in faith, reparation, prayer, and love, with Mary,Spouse of the Holy Spirit, as Model.At every Sacrifice of the Mass, where we return to our place beneath the Cross, we also reconsecrate ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary gives cause to look to the message of Fatima, to her whom Pope John Paul II called our “Lady of the Message”—the Hope of the World.

The accomplishment of the Collegial Consecration, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima at Tuy,Spain, had to wait until March 25, 1984, to be accomplished accordingly as heaven requested. Shortly afterwards, Sister Lucia told the Cardinal of Lisbon it was accomplished.

The Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph in Fatima gave me the information from Sister Lucia in 1989 and asked that it be published in my magazine, Immaculate Heart Messenger. Sister Lucia said that God had accepted the Act of Collegial Consecration which was conducted March 25, 1984, and “the Lord will keep His word.”Later,Sister Lucia wrote me [Fr. Robert J. Fox] a personal letter stating that the Consecration was accomplished as requested by Our Lady. After the Messenger Magazine was released and read by many, one country after another non-violently began to throw off the hammer and sickle of Communism. I subsequently had interviews from Times International Magazine, Wall Street Journal, etc. Below is a reprint of the Consecration:

 

Act of Collegial Consecration of the World and Russia in particular by

Pope John Paul II and World’s Bishops on March 25, 1984

1. “We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.”

As we utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, Mother, in the Jubilee Year of the Redemption.

We find ourselves united with all the Pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as by Christ’s wish the Apostles constituted a body and college with Peter.

In the bond of this union, we utter the words of the present Act, in which we wish to include, once more, the Church’s hopes and anxieties for the modern world.

Forty years1 ago and again ten years2 later, your servant Pope Pius XII, having before his eyes the painful experiences of the human family, entrusted and consecrated to your Immaculate Heart the whole world, especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular love and solicitude.

This world of individuals and nations we too have before our eyes3 today: the world of the second millennium that is drawing to a close, the modern world, our world!

The Church, mindful of the Lord’s words: “Go . . . and make disciples of all nations . . . and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20), has, at the Second Vatican Council, given fresh life to her awareness of her mission in this world.

And therefore, O Mother of individuals and peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.

In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.

“We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God”: despise not our petitions in our necessities.

2. Behold, as we stand before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, together with the whole Church, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, Your Son made of Himself to the Father: “For their sake,” He said, “I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth” (Jn. 17:19). We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this His consecration for the world and for the human race, which, in His divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.

The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.

How deeply we feel the need for the consecration of humanity and the world—our modern world—in union with Christ Himself! For the redeeming work of Christ must be shared in by the world through the Church.

The present Year of the Redemption shows this: the special Jubilee of the whole Church.

Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call!

Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!

Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope and love! Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.

3. In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.

Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!

From famine and war, deliver us.

From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.

From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.

From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.

From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.

From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.

From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.

From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.

Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the “sin of the world,” sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed, once more in the history of the world, the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!

 

(Footnotes)

1. Oct. 31, 1942. Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

2. July 7, 1952. Consecration of the Peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

3. The Consecration of the World and Russia is now being renewed collegially with the bishops of the world.

 

 

In the summer of 1989, when Sister Lucia began to go public stating that the Collegial Consecration for the conversion of Russia had been accomplished as of March 25, 1984, I was in Fatima. For years I had spent the heart of the summer in Fatima, for about six weeks, conducting two different youth pilgrimages each summer. I was informed by the contemplative Carmelite nuns, whose convent is in Fatima, that Sister Lucia was saying, “Our Lord has accepted the Collegial Consecration of 1984.”

I was told: “Lucia wants the message to get out to the world that the Collegial Consecration of Russia has taken place.”

When Sister Lucia was asked: “Why did you wait until now?” [Five years after the Consecration took place]. She answered: “I do not speak on radio. I do not write for the papers.” Lucia said: “I’ve read reports of the consecration, what the Pope did, what the Bishops did, etc. . . . I’ve had no way of communicating.”

Those speaking to me on behalf of Sister Lucia expressed the anxiousness of Sister Lucia that the message get out. It appeared that Sister Lucia sensed a great anxiety to make the message known of what God was about to accomplish in the coming break-up of the Soviet Union and the governments of the countries of Eastern Europe that were under the hammer and sickle of atheistic Communism. I was asked by Carmelite nuns at Fatima if I as Editor of the Fatima Family Messenger would be of help to get the message out to the world on behalf of Sister Lucia.

 

(Note from Sister Lucia, in Portuguese)
J.+ M.


Pax Christi
Rev.do Sr. P. Robert J. Fox

Recebi a sua carta e venho responder á sua pregunta: «Se a Consagração feita por Jão Paulo II, em 25 de Março de 1984, em união com todos os Bispos do mondo, cumpriu as codições para a coversão da Russia, segundo o pedido de Nossa Senhora em Tuy a 13 de Junho de 1929»? Sim, compriu, e desde aí, eu tenho dito que está feita.

E digo que não é nenhuma outra pessoa que responde por mim, sou eu quem recebe a correspondência, abre as cartas e responde.

Em união de orações.

Coimbra, 3-VII-1990.
Irmã Lúcia

  
(Translation)
J. +M.

The Peace of Christ
Rev. Father Robert J. Fox

I come to answer your question, “If the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984, in union with all the bishops of the world, accomplished the condition for the conversion of Russia, according to the request of Our Lady in Tuy on June 13, 1929”? Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made.

And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them.

In union of prayers.

 

Coimbra, July 3, 1990
Sister Lucia
(signature)

 
I agreed to publicize what Sister Lucia was saying. I knew I would be attacked viciously by those who claimed the Collegial Consecration had never taken place. But it was too important a message to keep to myself. I considered it a serious obligation placed upon me and I would do it regardless of the attacks which did indeed come.

When Sister Lucia, at the direction of her Confessor, asked Our Lord “why He required the Collegial Consecration of Russia” she received an answer and already on May 18, 1936, had written:

“I have spoken to Our Lord about the subject, and not too long ago I asked him why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making that consecration?”

Our Lord answered Sister Lucia:

“Because I want my whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that it may extend the cult later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to my Sacred Heart.”

Thus I knew that the request I received in 1989 to make known what Sister Lucia was saying was a serious obligation. I would be attacked publicly, but I must rise above such fears. To be called a “Liar” and “Fabricator,” as I was in literature that went to many countries, was a small price to get the message out before one country had thrown off the Communist governments.

Within a few months after I sent my materials to the printer for the Messenger Magazine, the events of the second half of 1989 began to take place with world-wide attention.

But first, to review previous attempts at the consecration which pleased Our Lord but did not completely fulfill the requirements until the act of March 25, 1984.

Sister Lucia said that the Acts of Consecration of the world, and then of Russia made by Pope Pius XII were not the Consecration requested by Our Lord. That of Pope Paul VI (at Vatican Council II) was also not the consecration. Sister Lucia added that the Consecration of Pope John Paul II made in 1982 at Fatima was not the consecration. But when the Papal Nuncio of Lisbon went to see Sister Lucia after the 1984 Consecration and asked if it was now the consecration requested by Our Lord, Sister Lucia answered, “Yes.”

For the 1984 Consecration Pope John Paul II had written to all Catholic bishops of the world, even to the bishops of the Orthodox churches and to major Protestant leaders. The Orthodox responded and even some of the non-Catholic or Protestant leaders joined the Pope in the act of 1984.

When Sister Lucia was told that not every Catholic bishop in the world joined in the Consecration, Sister Lucia replied: “It is true that not every Catholic bishop responded to the Pope’s request. That is their personal responsibility. Because of these bishops, God did not refuse to accept the Act of Consecration of 1984 with the act of union which met the necessary conditions. But it was done right in 1984 and Our Lord has accepted the Collegial Consecration. “The Lord will keep His word.”

A moral majority of the bishops had in fact acted in 1984 in union with Pope John Paul II. An even greater majority of the world’s bishops joined the Pope on March 25, 1984 [than had in 1982] in renewing and reaffirming the acts of the Consecration of Russia and the world. It was truly a Collegial Act. Any other position lacks documentation. [Documentaries appeared in the Fatima Family Messenger in September 1989. The magazine is now known as the Immaculate Heart Messenger.]

Things began to change in Russia almost immediately after the Collegial Consecration of 1984. By the second half of 1989 world-wide attention was focused on one country after another giving up in their government the hammer and sickle of Communism without a shot being fired.

On December 1, 1989, Pope John Paul II met Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican for the first time. Seven decades of spiritual and philosophical conflict came to a symbolic end as the two talked for more than an hour in the heart of Vatican City. It marked the first encounter between a Soviet Communist leader and a Pope. Mr. Gorbachev invited the Pope to make a return visit to the Soviet Union. Before saying yes, it appeared the restoration of more religious liberties to the Soviet Catholics would be required. Also, better communications with Orthodox leaders of Russia and their willingness to have the Pope invited would be required. At the first Vatican meeting, the Pope blessed Gorbachev’s domestic reform programs, and Gorbachev pledged to respect religious freedom. The Pope said this 1989 historic meeting “was prepared by Providence.”

Pope John Paul II issued the encyclical Centesimus Annus on May 1, 1991, just before going to Fatima for May 12 and 13 to thank Our Lady of Fatima again ten years later for sparing his life on May 13, 1981.

Centesimus Annus marked the centenary of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) which developed the Church’s social teachings. The third chapter of Centesimus Annus was titled “The Year 1989.” In it Pope John Paul II recognized the significance of events of the world situation. He wrote: “Although they certainly reached their climax in 1989 in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, they embrace a longer period of time and a wider geographical area. In the course of the ’80s, certain dictatorial and oppressive regimes fell one by one in some countries of Latin America and also of Africa and Asia. . . . The events of 1989 are an example of the success of willingness to negotiate and of the Gospel spirit in the face of an adversary determined not to be bound by moral principles. . . .”

As religious freedom increased by the spring and summer of 1990 pilgrims arrived at Fatima from Communist and former Communist countries. On December 1, 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican for the second time. On March 15, 1991, the Vatican announced the formation of formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. It was called “pre-diplomatic relations.” The following years were to see increased developments of religion in Russia.

On March 8, 1992, Gorbachev wrote a syndicated column, as carried in major newspapers, in which he said: “I have carried on an intensive correspondence with Pope John Paul II since we met at the Vatican in December 1989. . . . The sense of mutual affection and understanding that resulted from our meeting is to be found in our letters. . . . Everything that took place in Eastern Europe in recent years would have been impossible without the Pope’s efforts.”

On June 27, 2000 [one day after the public release of the third secret of Fatima and the long Commentary by the Vatican on the Message of Fatima], Gorbachev was at the Vatican sitting on a dais along with two cardinals, the Italian foreign minister and the president of the European Union’s commission to promote the book, The Martyrdom of Patience. That book was of the memoirs of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, former Vatican Secretary of State and Pro-Prefect of the Council for Public Affairs of the Church. Casaroli had been the chief negotiator for the Vatican with East European Communist governments—aimed to bring the Communists back to God.

 

Jacinta and Francisco —heroic virtue



On May 13, 1989, the Vatican declared that Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three seers at Fatima, possessed “heroic virtue” and are worthy of veneration. The Vatican’s declaration regarding Jacinta and Francisco had followed years of investigation by the Church. The following month, June 23-25, 1989, Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family, member of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, came to the National Congress sponsored by the Fatima Family Apostolate at Alexandria, SD, and said:

I had the privilege of presenting the conclusions of the study which had lasted for many years. And it was clear, it was very clear, that the little children of Fatima will never be declared blessed or saints because they have received the revelation. They will be declared saints because they have been faithful to what the Blessed Mother asked of them.

They died very young. They did not have time to do great things. They had an influence on the people who met them through their kindness, through the visible faith they had. Because of their courage, their mortification, their suffering and most of all, because of the way they suffered, at their age, was really heroic.

Eleven years later, May 13, 2000 A.D., during the Year of the Great Jubilee, Pope John Paul II traveled to Fatima for the third time. It was for the purpose of beatifying Jacinta and Francisco. This was an official declaration of the Church, after long study and evidence of a miracle performed through their intercession, that the two youngest seers of Fatima were indeed in heaven. Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco were the youngest non-martyr souls ever to be beatified in the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church. The beatifications gave renewed interest to the Message of Fatima as it presented models for children.

A surprise came as the Mass of Beatification and ceremonies concluded. Pope John Paul II had requested the Vatican Secretary of State to unveil at that time the third part of the Fatima secret.

When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the document, The Message of Fatima, on June 26, 2000, the exact words of the Fatima Secret in all three parts as written by Sister Lucia were presented together with a commentary. It follows:

 

 

FIRST AND SECOND PARTS OF THE “SECRET”

 
According to The Version Presented by Sister Lucia in the Third Memoir of 31 August 1941 for the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima


. . . This will entail my speaking about the secret, and thus answering the first question.

What is the secret? It seems to me that I can reveal it, since I already have permission from Heaven to do so. God’s representatives on earth have authorized me to do this several times and in various letters, one of which, I believe, is in your keeping. This letter is from Father José Bernardo Gonçalves, and in it he advises me to write to the Holy Father, suggesting, among other things, that I should reveal the secret. I did say something about it. But in order not to make my letter too long, since I was told to keep it short, I conned myself to the essentials, leaving it to God to provide another more favorable opportunity.

In my second account I have already described in detail the doubt which tormented me from 13 June until 13 July, and how it disappeared completely during the Apparition on that day.

Well, the secret is made up of three distinct parts, two of which I am now going to reveal.

The first part is the vision of hell.

Our Lady showed us a great sea of re which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this re were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge re, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror. We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. 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. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

 

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1817:

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; ashing, it gave out flames at looked as though they would set the world on re; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it,’ a Bishop dressed in White; we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who red bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Tuy-3-1-1944

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II TO SISTER LUCIA

To the Reverend Sister MARIA LUCIA of the Convent of Coimbra


(Papal Coat of Arms)

 
In the great joy of Easter, I greet you with the word the Risen Jesus spoke to the disciples: “Peace be with you!”

I will be happy to be able to meet you on the long-awaited day of the Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, which, please God, I will celebrate on 13 May of this year.

Since on that day there will be time only for a brief greeting and not a conversation, I am sending His Excellency Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to speak with you. This is the Congregation which works most closely with the Pope in defending the true Catholic faith, and which since 1957, as you know, has kept your handwritten letter containing the third part of the “secret” revealed on 13 July 1917 at Cova da Iria, Fatima.

Archbishop Bertone, accompanied by the Bishop of Leiria, His Excellency Bishop Seram de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, will come in my name to ask certain questions about the interpretation of “the third part of the secret.”

Sister Maria Lucia, you may speak openly and candidly to Archbishop Bertone, who will report your answers directly to me.

I pray fervently to the Mother of the Risen Lord for you, Reverend Sister, for the Community of Coimbra and for the whole Church. May Mary, Mother of pilgrim humanity, keep us always united to Jesus, her beloved Son and our brother, the Lord of life and glory.

With my special Apostolic Blessing.

JOANNES PAULUS PP. II

From the Vatican, 19 April 2000.

 

AN ACCOUNT OF THE CONVERSATION
WITH SISTER MARIA LUCIA OF JESUS AND THE IMMACULATE HEART


  From the Vatican 19 April 2000
 
The meeting between Sister Lucia, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent by the Holy Father, and Bishop Seram de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, took place on Thursday, 27 April 2000, in the Carmel of Saint Teresa in Coimbra.

Sister Lucia was lucid and at ease; she was very happy that the Holy Father was going to Fatima for the Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, something she had looked forward to for a long time.

The Bishop of Leiria-Fatima read the autograph letter of the Holy Father, which explained the reasons for the visit. Sister Lucia felt honored by this and reread the letter herself, contemplating it in her own hands. She said that she was prepared to answer all questions frankly.

At this point, Archbishop Bertone presented two envelopes to her: the first containing the second, which held the third part of the “secret” of Fatima. Immediately, touching it with her fingers, she said: “This is my letter,” and then while reading it: “This is my writing.”

The original text, in Portuguese, was read and interpreted with the help of the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Sister Lucia agreed with the interpretation that the third part of the “secret” was a prophetic vision, similar to those in sacred history. She repeated her conviction that the vision of Fatima concerns above all the struggle of atheistic Communism against the Church and against Christians, and describes the terrible sufferings of the victims of the faith in the 20th Century.

When asked: “Is the principal figure in the vision the Pope?”, Sister Lucia replied at once that it was. She recalled that the three children were very sad about the suffering of the Pope, and that Jacinta kept saying: “Coitadinho do Santo Padre, tenho muita pena dos pecadores!” (“Poor Holy Father, I am very sad for sinners!”). Sister Lucia continued: “We did not know the name of the Pope; Our Lady did not tell us the name of the Pope; we did not know whether it was Benedict XV or Pius XII or Paul VI or John Paul II; but it was the Pope who was suffering and that made us suffer too.”

As regards the passage about the Bishop dressed in white, that is, the Holy Father—as the children immediately realized during the “vision”—who is struck dead and falls to the ground, Sister Lucia was in full agreement with the Pope’s claim that “it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (Pope John Paul II, Meditation from the Policlinico Gemelli to the Italian Bishops, 13 May 1994).

Before giving the sealed envelope containing the third part of the “secret” to the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Sister Lucia wrote on the outside envelope that it could be opened only after 1960, either by the Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria. Archbishop Bertone therefore asked: “Why only after 1960? Was it Our Lady who fixed that date?” Sister Lucia replied: “It was not Our Lady. I fixed the date because I had the intuition that before 1960 it would not be understood, but that only later would it be understood. Now it can be better understood. I wrote down what I saw; however it was not for me to interpret it, but for the Pope.”

Finally, mention was made of the unpublished manuscript which Sister Lucia has prepared as a reply to the many letters that come from Marian devotees and from pilgrims. The work is called Os apelos da Mensagem de Fátima, and it gathers together in the style of catechesis and exhortation thoughts and reflections which express Sister Lucia’s feelings and her clear and unaffected spirituality. She was asked if she would be happy to have it published, and she replied, “If the Holy Father agrees, then I am happy, otherwise I obey whatever the Holy Father decides.” Sister Lucia wants to present the text for ecclesiastical approval, and she hopes that what she has written will help to guide men and women of good will along the path that leads to God, the final goal of every human longing. The conversation ends with an exchange of Rosaries. Sister Lucia is given a Rosary sent by the Holy Father, and she in turn offers a number of rosaries made by herself.

The meeting concludes with the blessing imparted in the name of the Holy Father.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT Made by Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Secretary of State


At the end of the Mass presided over by the Holy Father at Fatima, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, made this announcement in Portuguese, which is given here in English translation:

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!

At the conclusion of this solemn celebration, I feel bound to offer our beloved Holy Father Pope John Paul II, on behalf of all present, heartfelt good wishes for his approaching 80th Birthday and to thank him for his vital pastoral ministry for the good of all God’s Holy Church; we present the heartfelt wishes of the whole Church.

On this solemn occasion of his visit to Fatima, His Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you. As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fatima 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 Fatima.

That text contains a prophetic vision similar to those found in Sacred Scripture, which do not describe photographically the details of future events, but synthesize and compress against a single background facts which extend through time in an unspecified succession and duration. As a result, the text must be interpreted in a symbolic key.

The vision of Fatima concerns above all the war waged by atheistic systems against the Church and Christians, and it describes the immense suffering endured by the witnesses of the faith in the last century of the second millennium. It is an interminable Way of the Cross led by the Popes of the 20th Century.

According to the interpretation of the “little shepherds” which was also confirmed recently by Sister Lucia, “the Bishop clothed in white” who prays for all the faithful is the Pope. As he makes his way with great difficulty towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred (Bishops, priests, men and women Religious and many lay people), he too falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a hail of gunfire.

After the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, it appeared evident that it was “a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path,” enabling “the Pope in his throes” to halt “at the threshold of death” (Pope John Paul II, Meditation from the Policlinico Gemelli to the Italian Bishops, Insegnamenti, XVII, 1 [19941, 1061). On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, 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. By the Bishop’s decision, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

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 regimes 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, with the burden of suffering they bring, tragically continue. Even if the events to which the third part of the “secret” of Fatima refers now seem part of the past, Our Lady’s call to conversion and penance, issued at the start of the 20th 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, No. 1, Insegnamenti, XIX, 2 [1996], 561).

In order that the faithful may better receive the message of Our Lady of Fatima, 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. Brothers and sisters, let us thank Our Lady of Fatima for her protection. To her maternal intercession let us entrust the Church of the Third Millennium.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix! Intercede pro Ecclesia, Intercede pro Papa nostro Ioanne Paulo II. Amen.

 

Fatima, May 13, 2000
An attempt to interpret the “secret” of Fatima

The first and second parts of the “secret” of Fatima have already been so amply discussed in the relative literature that there is no need to deal with them again here. I would just like to recall briefly the most significant point. For one terrible moment, the children were given a vision of hell. They saw the fall of “the souls of poor sinners.” And now they are told why they have been exposed to this moment: “in order to save souls”—to show the way to salvation. The words of the First Letter of Peter come to mind: “As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1:9). To reach this goal, the way indicated—surprisingly for people from the Anglo-Saxon and German cultural world—is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A brief comment may suffice to explain this. In biblical language, the “heart” indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. 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.” To be “devoted” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the at—“your will be done”—the defining centre of one’s whole life. It might be objected that we should not place a human being between ourselves and Christ. But then we remember that Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: “imitate me”(1 Cor 4:16; Phil 3:17; 1 Th 1:6; 2 Th 3:7, 9). In the Apostle they could see concretely what it meant to follow Christ. But from whom might we better learn in every age than from the Mother of the Lord?

Thus we come finally to the third part of the “secret” of Fatima which for the first time is being published in its entirety. As is clear from the documentation presented here, the interpretation offered by Cardinal Sodano in his statement of May 13 was first put personally to Sister Lucia. Sister Lucia responded by pointing out that she had received the vision but not its interpretation. The interpretation, she said, belonged not to the visionary but to the Church. After reading the text, however, she said that this interpretation corresponded to what she had experienced and that on her part she thought the interpretation correct. In what follows, therefore, we can only attempt to provide a deeper foundation for this interpretation, on the basis of the criteria already considered.

“To save souls” has emerged as the key word of the first and second parts of the “secret,” and the key word of this third part is the threefold cry: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” The beginning of the Gospel comes to mind: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk 1: 15). To understand the signs of the times means to accept the urgency of penance—of conversion—of faith. This is the correct response to this moment of history, characterized by the grave perils outlined in the images that follow. Allow me to add here a personal recollection: in a conversation with me Sister Lucia said that it appeared ever more clearly to her that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more and more in faith, hope and love—everything else was intended to lead to this.

Let us now examine more closely the single images. The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgment which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of re no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendor of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom into the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret,” such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of May 13, 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.

The next phrases of the text show very clearly once again the symbolic character of the vision: God remains immeasurable, and is the light which surpasses every vision of ours. Human persons appear as in a mirror. We must always keep in mind the limits in the vision itself, which here are indicated visually. The future appears only “in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor 13:12). Let us now consider the individual images which follow in the text of the “secret.” The place of the action is described in three symbols: a steep mountain, a great city reduced to ruins and finally a large rough-hewn cross. The mountain and city symbolize the arena of human history: history as an arduous ascent to the summit, history as the arena of human creativity and social harmony, but at the same time a place of destruction, where man actually destroys the fruits of his own work. The city can be the place of communion and progress, but also of danger and the most extreme menace. On the mountain stands the cross—the goal and guide of history. The cross transforms destruction into salvation; it stands as a sign of history’s misery but also as a promise for history.

At this point human persons appear: the Bishop dressed in white (“we had the impression that it was the Holy Father”), other Bishops, priests, men and women Religious, and men and women of different ranks and social positions. The Pope seems to precede the others, trembling and suffering because of all the horrors around him. Not only do the houses of the city lie half in ruins, but he makes his way among the corpses of the dead. The Church’s path is thus described as a Via Crucis, as a journey through a time of violence, destruction and persecution. The history of an entire century can he seen represented in this image, just as the places of the earth are synthetically described in the two images of the mountain and the city, and are directed towards the cross, so too time is presented in a compressed way. In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which led the last 50 years and have inflicted unprecedented forms of cruelty. In the “mirror” of this vision we see passing before us the witnesses of the faith decade by decade. Here it would be appropriate to mention a phrase from the letter which Sister Lucia wrote to the Holy Father on May 12, 1982: “The third part of the ‘secret’ refers to Our Lady’s words: if not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.”

In the Via Crucis of an entire century, the figure of the Pope has a special role. In his arduous ascent of the mountain we can undoubtedly see a convergence of different Popes. Beginning from Pius X up to the present Pope, they all shared the sufferings of the century and strove to go forward through all the anguish along the path which leads to the Cross. In the vision, the Pope too is killed along with the martyrs. When, after the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the “secret” brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: “. . . it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (May 13, 1994). That here “a mother’s hand” had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.

The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith. It is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God. Here, the blood of Christ and the blood of the martyrs are considered as one: the blood of the martyrs runs down from the arms of the cross. The martyrs die in communion with the Passion of Christ, and their death becomes one with his. For the sake of the body of Christ, they complete what is still lacking in his afflictions (cf. Col 1:24). Their life has itself become a Eucharist, part of the mystery of the grain of wheat which in dying yields abundant fruit. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians,” said Tertullian. As from Christ’s death, from his wounded side, the Church was born, so the death of the witnesses is fruitful for the future life of the Church. Therefore, the vision of the third part of the “secret,” so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope: no suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God. The loving arms of God welcome not only those who suffer like Lazarus, who found great solace there and mysteriously represents Christ, who wished to become for us the poor Lazarus. There is something more: from the suffering of the witnesses there comes a purifying and renewing power, because their suffering is the actualization of the suffering of Christ himself and a communication in the here and now of its saving effect.

And so we come to the final question: What is the meaning of the “secret” of Fatima as a whole (in its three parts)? What does it say to us? First of all we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: “. . . the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past.” Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past. Those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed. Fatima does not satisfy our curiosity in this way, just as Christian faith in general cannot be reduced to an object of mere curiosity. What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the “secret”: the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.

I would like finally to mention another key expression of the “secret” which has become justly famous: “my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The at of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her, yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.

 

 JOSEPH CARD. RATZINGER
Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith

Third Part of Fatima Secret Analyzed


 Fatima, including the total Secret which is in three parts, tells us of our individual freedom and the consequent punishment for being evil in the misuse of freedom. It directs us to be the recipients of the loving mercy of the infinite God of love who knows the future and is anxious to share His divine life with us, especially through the Holy Eucharist.

The nearly successful assassination of Pope John Paul II and the persecution of the martyrs and witnesses to the faith in the 20th Century are contained in the third part of the Secret. A deeper study also helps us to appreciate why every Pope since 1930 has spoken of Fatima as “a reaffirmation of the Gospel.”

The theological commentary, which was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the direct order of Pope John Paul II, should end the controversy about the Collegial Consecration of Russia. This Consecration was required for Russia’s conversion and move away from atheistic Communism. The Vatican Congregation quotes Sister Lucia: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984.” The Commentary adds: “Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.”

The message of Fatima has always been one of hope, not gloom and doom. The third part of the Secret gives cause for optimism. In it we see the powerful role of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, protecting the world and the Church through her role as Advocate and Intercessor. The Angel of Wrath with the flaming sword, about to bring destruction to the world, is halted by the splendor that radiates from Our Lady as her light overcomes and fades out the destructive re from the Angel’s sword. The Angel calls out loudly: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” to appease the justice of God. Our Mother of Mercy thus intercedes to bring us grace and salvation from Jesus.

The work of the Holy Angels, who are always in awe of God’s mercy, is seen in the Secret. Fatima began in 1916 with the apparition of an Angel of the Holy Eucharist. The conclusion of Sister Lucia’s comments on the third part, with two Angels beneath the arms of the Cross gathering up the blood of the martyrs in crystal aspersoriums and sprinkling the blood on the souls of those making their way to God, reminds us that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity. One can appreciate the optimism then of Pope John Paul II for the Third Millennium and his foreseeing a new springtime for Christianity after the sufferings of the 20th Century.

Cardinal Sodano, referring to the Secret, spoke of a “prophetic vision” of a bishop, “clothed in white,” who “falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.” Some have asked: “Why could not that vision be more applicable to Archbishop Oscar Romero, gunned down while saying Mass in El Salvador in 1980 than to the Pope?” Here again one must interpret the Secret in reference to the whole of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima with the golden globe at her waist has from the beginning been understood to mean that Fatima is for the world. The Pope has a universal mission for the Church. The Pope appears often in the message. The Secret was to be given to the Pope. The three little shepherds already in 1917 understood it was the Pope. Efforts to give “the bishop clothed in white” another meaning than the Pope is a confession of not having studied Fatima in depth.

Sister Lucia met with Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent by the Holy Father, on April 27, 2000. Sister Lucia was read a letter from the Pope explaining the reasons for the visit. At that time, she affirmed the additional letter presented to her was her own original letter in her own writing of the third part of the Secret back in 1943-4. Lucia was asked: “Is the principal figure in the vision the Pope?” Sister Lucia replied at once that it was and that the little shepherds understood it was. Sister Lucia agreed with the often quoted statement of Pope John Paul II that “it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death.”

Our Lady had prophesied in 1917 that while Jacinta and Francisco would soon die and go to heaven Lucia must remain long in the world as, “Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”

Through more than eight decades Lucia has fulfilled this role and lived long into her 94th year to verify the third part of the Fatima secret as involving the Pope.

Having worked in the Fatima Apostolate for decades I could appreciate the recent actions of the Pope and his Congregation relative to Fatima and its Secret.

Over a quarter of a century ago, Bishop John Venancio, former Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, spoke to me about the third part of the Fatima Secret. He told me then that he held the envelope in his hands containing the Secret which Sister Lucia presented in 1944. Bishop Venancio who saw that the Secret was taken to the Vatican in 1957, said, “I could have opened it and read it. I did not desire that responsibility. I held it up to the sun simply to see how long it was. It was short.”

When the Secret in different translations and a copy in Sister Lucia’s own writing were released to the public on June 26, 2000, it was immediately evident that the Secret was indeed “short.” Through the years it was just as apparent to me then that the lengthy bogus reports that periodically circulated in the world, claiming to be the Secret, were indeed false.

I recall also many conversations with the late Claretian priest who was the official historian of Fatima, Fr. Joachim Maria Alonso, C.M.F. He was appointed by the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima to prepare the definitive critical study of Fatima and its message. He had taught philosophy and theology in Rome, Madrid and Lisbon. He was a member of several international Marian societies. He said: “Fatima is in accord with the mind of the Church.” My interviews with him help me now to appreciate the Secret.

Of the third part of the Secret of Fatima he said to me over 25 years before the unveiling of the secret that he knew its contents indirectly. “It consists only of prophecies about the new condition of the Church in the world. . . . All who know how to read can see for themselves that the Fatima Secret has something to do with the crisis of faith in the Church today. There are two parts of the Secret already known. The third part forms a unity with the other two parts. To understand it, it must be understood in relation to the first two parts; and therefore I make an interpretation that scholars today call ‘structural.’ In a very specialized sense it signifies that everything must be understood in conjunction with all that surrounds it. It is the same, in a Biblical context, as exegesis.’”

When Sister Lucia fell seriously ill in mid-1943, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima asked her to write down the remainder of the Secret. Because of the graveness of her illness—beginning in June 1943—the bishop feared she would leave this world and take the third part of the Secret with her. It was in the midst of her painful sickness then that Lucia wrote down the third part, in obedience.

Although always obedient, Lucia found it difficult to carry out that command. She tried various times in 1943 to put it in writing over a period of months, but without success. Finally, after some months of effort, she succeeded. The book, The Intimate Life of Sister Lucia, published only after January 1, 2001, contains documents never before published. I was given these documents ten years previously but not free to release them until 2001. In them we discover that at the end of December 1943, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia telling her to write down the secret as the Bishop had requested. She wrote it on a sheet of paper, placed it inside an envelope, and sealed it. When the Bishop received the sealed envelope, he placed it into another, larger envelope.

Sister Lucia was with the Dorothean sisters in Tuy, Spain, when all this happened. After completing the short text, she dated it at its conclusion “Tuy-3-1-1944.” (January 3, 1944).

There was an agreement with the Bishop of Leiria in Portugal that the document “would not be opened before 1960, or only after Lucia’s death.” Sister Lucia said recently that it was she, not Our Lady, who set that date.

The late Cardinal Cerejeira of Lisbon once spoke of the Secret as follows: “From the two parts already revealed, we know enough to enable us to conclude that the salvation of the world, in this extraordinary moment in history, has been placed by God in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to read the secret. Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (d. 1976), one of the few persons permitted by Pope John XXIII to read the Secret, said to Father Alonso: “The Message was not to be opened before 1960. In May 1955, I asked Lucia the reason for that date. She answered, ‘Because then it will seem clearer.’ This made me think that the Message was prophetic in tone, for it is precisely in prophecy, as we so often read in Sacred Scripture, that there exists a veil of mystery.” Cardinal Ottaviani added that the letter was “transmitted faithfully to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which had asked for it, in order to prevent something of so delicate a nature, not destined to be given . . . to the public, from falling, for any reason whatsoever, even accidentally, into alien hands.”

It is interesting that the letter was transmitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the official historian of Fatima more than 25 years previous said that he knew in general it concerned the crisis of faith we were undergoing in the 20th Century. He said that we were already living the Secret. Indeed we were, the persecutions, martyrs, disturbances to the faith.

It is interesting in light of all this, that at the end of the recent commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the third part of the Secret, there is reprinted from Lucia’s earlier writings on the first two parts of the Secret the words: “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc. . . .” There is an indication here that the great sufferings and persecutions prophesied in July 13, 1917, which have indeed come to pass, are a result of the lack of prayer, sacrifice on the part of the faithful and failure to make the Consecration of Russia by the hierarchy of the universal Church.

It is to be pointed out that the fault does not fall simply on Bishops and the Holy Father. Because of insufficient prayer and penance in faith and love by members of the Church, the Pope was not able to accomplish the Consecration before 1984. Their acts of reparation, expressed especially by First Saturdays acts of sacramental reparation, meditation and Rosary prayers, would enable the Collegial Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to take place. As the Commentary says: “Faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.” God is infinitely merciful. He is also a God of justice requiring prayer, penance, reparation. In His mercy He revealed at Fatima what was needed to prevent the tragic events of the 20th Century. Such reparation is still needed for a more perfect conversion. Many still have not heeded heaven’s call which could hasten the promised conversion and triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

Father Alonso, long ago had available all the documents on Fatima, except the explicit words of the third part of the Secret which was already in the Vatican archives. He said that the statement about the dogma of the faith being preserved in Portugal indicated, in virtue of structural interpretation, that in other places the dogma of faith would be disturbed. Thus we have dissenters and confusion in the faith on a wide scale.

The June 26, 2000, commentary spoke of the need to interpret the third part of the Secret not in isolation of the other parts but within the total message of Fatima as Fr. Alonso told me over 25 years previous. Cardinal Sodano said, “The vision of Fatima 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. “Atheist systems” refers to lack of faith in God and His Church and consequent persecutions waged against believers.

To interpret the third part we need to remember the second part where there is predicted the great war, hunger and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father. But it could have been prevented. Our Lady said on July 13, 1917, third apparition: “In order to prevent this, I shall come to ask for: [1] the [Collegial] Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart [by the Pope and all the bishops of the world], and [2] the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer. . . . But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph . . . ”

On December 10, 1925, Our Lady spelled out for Sister Lucia the specifics of making the First Saturdays which involve Confession, Holy Communion, five decades of the Rosary plus 15 minutes meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary. The Collegial Consecration of Russia and making the First Saturdays were associated and both made essential already in the apparition of July 13, 1917.

On June 13, 1929, the specifics for the Collegial Consecration were given to save Russia. The vision was, as it were, a summary of the paschal mystery perpetuated, namely the Eucharist associated with the sacrifice of the Cross, all relative to the Blessed Trinity and the “Graces and Mercy” God wishes to bestow on mankind. Mary’s role as mediatrix was presented in this vision.

What are the errors of Russia which would spread? They were the errors of an “atheist system against the Church and Christians.” The consequence has been a crisis of faith which has become widespread in the world. Yet there is the absolute promise: “But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and it will be converted . . . ” [July 13, 1917, message].

Souls fall into hell because of lack of faith and love. Meanwhile the errors of Russia spread the spirit of atheism and materialism which attempted to destroy true faith in God and His Church.

All the popes of the 20th Century have indeed suffered, as the Commentary makes clear, beginning from Pius X to the present Pope. Pope Paul VI who issued Humanae Vitae, reaffirmed the constant teaching of the Church for centuries on the intrinsic evil of artificial contraception. He immediately met with widespread dissensions such that he said to Archbishop Sheen, “Every night when I go to bed it is like laying my head on a crown of thorns but I have a great peace.” His peace was in knowing he taught the truth in love while he assured those who fail that the Sacrament of Mercy [Confession] is available in the Church.

In July 1989, the Carmelite nuns in Portugal informed me that Sister Lucia was saying that the Collegial Consecration was accomplished on March 25, 1984, and she said: “God will keep His word.” Sister Lucia wrote me a personal letter saying it was accomplished. After that report from Sister Lucia, one country after another in the Soviet Union began to throw off the scourge of the hammer and sickle. Countries threw off their Communist control without a shot being red. The stockpiling of atom bombs and all the missile sites, costing billions of dollars, all went unused. President Bush called it a “political miracle.” Those who knew Fatima in depth called it the “Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.”

Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (Sim, està felta, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984, [Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984]; Letter of November 8, 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

In the documentation presented here, four other texts have been added to the manuscripts of Sister Lucia: 1) the Holy Father’s letter of April 19, 2000, to Sister Lucia; 2) an account of the conversation of April 27, 2000, with Sister Lucia; 3) the statement which the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, to read on May 13, 2000; 4) the theological commentary by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Sister Lucia had already given an indication for interpreting the third part of the “secret” in a letter to the Holy Father, dated May 12, 1982:

The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady’s words: “If not [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated” (13-VII-1917).

The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.”

Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence, etc.

And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible .

The decision of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to make public the third part of the “secret” of Fatima brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil, yet pervaded by the merciful love of God and the watchful care of the Mother of Jesus and of the Church.

The action of God, the Lord of history, and the co-responsibility of man in the drama of his creative freedom, are the two pillars upon which human history is built.

Our Lady, who appeared at Fatima, recalls these forgotten values. She reminds us that man’s future is in God, and that we are active and responsible partners in creating that future.

Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

 

What was it that brought down the Iron Curtain and dissolved the Soviet Union which for decades had the goal of world domination and to destroy the faith of peoples with its Communist axiom: “Religion is the opium of the people”? It was not politics. The answer is seen in the interpretation given June 26, 2000, on the third part of the Secret given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “. . . Faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end, prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.”

God in His mercy gives us a way whereby we can alter the course of history to which mankind is directing itself. The way Our Mother of Mercy has given is: 1. The First Saturdays of reparation by the faithful members of the Church. 2. The Collegial Consecration of the world and Russia by the Pope and Bishops of the world.

The Pope and Bishops fulfilled their task of the Collegial Consecration of the world and Russia. The June 26, 2000, Commentary explicitly verified that. Most faithful still need to respond to the call of Our Mother to make the First Saturdays.

Millions living the Fatima message and the requested reparations of First Saturdays can bring the “new springtime for the Church” in the Third Millennium of which Pope John Paul II spoke of in Fatima already May 13, 1991, when he went there to thank Our Lady again after ten years for sparing his life in the assassination attempt.

Hopefully, more will become active member of the Fatima Family Apostolate, one of it various prayer-study groups, for the sanctification of families and individuals. In this way, Catholics and families can learn to live in depth what heaven and the Church expects of them. In this way, the New Evangelization, the new springtime of the Church, will arrive.

                                                    

Category:  Catholic Marian
Published: Fatima Family Apostolate ( Non-Profit)
Publish Date: 2002
Pages: 290
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 9 L x 6 W x 3/4 H
Price: $10.50
Publisher Official Website: www.fatimafamily.org

Fatima Family Apostolate is dedicated to the sanctification of the family and the individual through spreading the Fatima message.  A non-profit Catholic missionary apostolate specializing in the publishing and distribution of Catholic books designed to aid Catholics on their journey towards heaven.

The Fatima Family Apostolate was started at the encouragement of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and is endorsed by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family. It is now an international Apostolate, having members all over the world and publishes a
52-page quarterly magazine called the Immaculate Heart Messenger.

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