On June 26, 2000, the Vatican finally released the long awaited Third Secret of Fatima. Fifty-six years earlier, Sister Lucia dos Santos (the author of this prophecy) claimed that an apparition of the Virgin Mary gave her a specific date for the revelation of this Secret. She said, a pope must permit its dissemination to the world “no later than 1960.”
Forty years later, the Vatican’s chief theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, finally presented the document in a press conference. This is how it reads:
THE PROPHECY OF THE THIRD SECRET
“I write in obedience to you, my God, who commands me to 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. Flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire.
“But they died out in contact with the splendour 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 then pass in front of it, a bishop dressed in white.
“We had the impression that it was the Holy Father.
“Other bishops, priests, religious men and women were 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 fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the bishops, priests, religious men and women, 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.”
(END OF PROPHECY)
The prophecy and Cardinal Ratzinger’s interpretation have stunned and upset many Catholics and prophecy watchers around the world. The Cardinal, who heads the papal cabinet Offices of Doctrine and Faith (better known in history as the Offices of the Grand Inquisitor), declared that the Third Secret only referred to events which have already happened.
“A careful reading of the text will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred,” said Cardinal Ratzinger at the press conference on 26 June. “No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled,” he added.
The good cardinal thinks the assassination of a pope—and a multitude of Catholic bishops, priests, and laity—on a “mountain top” before a “half-destroyed city” fulfills a specific past event. He would have the world believe that the prophecy describes the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II by Mehmet Ali Agca, in 1981.
Many believe they have experienced nothing less than a white “cassock” wash of one of Catholicism’s most anticipated prophetic messages.
In all of my 30 years as a scholar of prophetic traditions, I have seen some interpretive stretches, but Cardinal Ratzinger’s spin of this prophecy is as weak as they come. Indeed, I have seen more imaginative twists of reason made by the National Enquirer. I would not even pin 10 percent of the Third Secret he presented as a fulfilled prophecy.
Many of the facts about that event just do not match the prophecy. Agca’s bullets wounded the pope and two bystanders. No one died, and no bishops, priests and laity were martyred as the prophecy demanded. As far as I know, Rome stood undamaged in 1981 and the scene of the assassination was not on top of a mountain but on the flat plain of the Vatican plaza.
Beyond the interpretation of the Third Secret, there are a number of factual inconsistencies in Cardinal Ratzinger’s past and current statements about it. It is a well-known fact among Fatima prophecy watchers that the first line of the Third Secret revealed on 26 June is not the line proclaimed decades ago by Sister Lucia. A number of those who had seen the prophecy (among them the late Father Malachi Martin) describe a vision diametrically different in content than that presented on 26 June. Even the Third Secret’s physical pages, offered as evidence at the news conference, are suspect. Up to 26 June, Cardinal Ratzinger officially agreed with other witnesses that Sister Lucia wrote the prophecy in 24 lines on a single page. Now Ratzinger presents a four-page handwritten document of 62 lines!
These and many other inconsistencies and prophetic stretches only add support to a growing belief that the highest echelons of the Vatican are involved in a cover-up.
Has the Vatican at last revealed the Third Secret of Fatima or suppressed it, and if so, why? In my book The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome I examine at length a number of future predictions the Vatican hierarchy wishes to suppress. If you haven’t read the book yet, go to your local library or you can purchase it directly off my web site link to Amazon.com for a discount. You can also find it at your local book store.
(11 July 2000)
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