Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July-August 2000

“They Have put Our Lady of Fatima in the closet!”
(Bishop Fellay, Rome, Sermon of August 9, 2000)

Remarks on the Roman Presentation of the Third Secret
By Fr Daniel Couture

The text of the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith, which presented the Third Secret on June 26, 2000, has the following parts:

Introduction - Archbishop Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith
Secret of Fatima: - First and Second Parts - Sr. Lucia dos Santos
- Photostat of Portuguese Original
- English Translation
Secret of Fatima - Third Part - Sr. Lucia dos Santos
- Photostat of Portuguese Original
- English Translation
- Letter in Portuguese of His Holiness to Sr. Lucia
- English Translation of Letter
- Conversation of Archbishop Bertone with Sr. Lucia.
- Announcement of Cardinal Sodano in Fatima

- Theological Commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger

In English it added up to a good 22 pages.  Readers who have access to the Internet can find the complete text at . We would like here to make some comments on some parts of this whole text. 

On the left we have put the relevant text from the Roman document of June 26, and on the right our commentary.  Further comments are given in the next article by Fr . Delestre, the SSPX priest working in Portugal.

1. Introduction by Archbishop Bertone (secretary of Cardinal Ratzinger).

a) Consecration of Russia

Arch. Bertone:  As is well known, Pope John Paul II immediately thought of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and he himself composed a prayer for what he called an “Act of Entrustment”, which was to be celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on 7 June 1981, the Solemnity of Pentecost…

Commentary  In French the act is clearly called ‘An Act of Consecration’, why use the word ‘entrustment’? .It seems that the word ‘consecration’ is embarrassing.

b) Consecration of the world or of Russia?

Arch. Bertone::  In order to respond more fully to the requests of “Our Lady”, the Holy Father desired to make more explicit during the Holy Year of the Redemption the Act of Entrustment of 7 May 1981, which had been repeated in Fatima on 13 May 1982. On 25 March 1984 in Saint Peter's Square, while recalling the fiat uttered by Mary at the Annunciation, the Holy Father, in spiritual union with the Bishops of the world, who had been “convoked” beforehand, entrusted all men and women and all peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in terms which recalled the heartfelt words spoken in 1981:

June 7, 1981: “…and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way.

May 13, 1982 and March 25, 1984: “…In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated. … 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.”

Commentary : About the consecration of the world by Pius XII in 1942, William T Walsh said after a three hour interview with Sr Lucia on July 15, 1946

“Lucia made it clear that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart.  What she demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia.  She did not comment of course on the fact that Pope Pius XII had consecrated the world, not Russia, to the Immaculate Heart in 1942.  But she said more than once, and with deliberate emphasis:

“What Our Lady wants is that the Pope and all the bishops in the world shall consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart on one special day.  If this is done, she will convert Russia and there will be peace.  If this is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country in the world.”

“It was plain that she felt that our Lady’s wishes had not yet been carried out.”

(From Our Lady of Fatima, Image Book edition 1954, 9th printing, p.221)

In the three consecrations done by Pope John Paul II (June 7, 1981, May 13, 1982, March 25, 1984), there is never explicit mention of Russia.

2. Conversation between Archbishop Bertone and Sr. Lucia, on April 27, 2000

a) Science Fiction?

Arch. Bertone::  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”

Comments of Bp de Galaretta:  Obviously Sr. Lucia was not going to contradict the Pope!  And this even if the vision showed that (the pope) 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 other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.   To say that the assassination attempt fulfills the vision of the pope being killed, leads to any interpretation, and thus to ‘science fiction’ (Sermon June 29, 2000, Ecône).

b) After or in 1960?

Arch. Bertone:  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.

From Br. Michael’s Conference on Fatima: Fact#3. Ascertaining that Bishop da Silva persisted in not wishing to open the envelope, Sister Lucy "made him promise, in the words of Canon Galamba, that the Third Secret would be opened and read to the world upon her death or in 1960, whichever would happen first." A series of testimonies which give us an account of the repeated statements of Sister Lucy enabled this fact to be established with absolute certitude.

“Fact#4. Finally, this promise to disclose the Secret immediately after the death of Sister Lucy or in any case, "in 1960 at the latest", surely corresponds to a request by the Virgin Mary Herself. In fact, when in 1946, Canon Barthas asked the seer why it would be necessary to wait until 1960, Sister Lucy replied to him in the presence of Bishop da Silva, "Because the Blessed Virgin wishes it so."

Briefly stated, I have established it solidly in my book and we have all the proofs that God desired, willed that the final Secret of Our Lady be finally believed by the Pastors of the Church and made public to the faithful. This was to be done at the earliest in 1944 or at the latest by 1960 because as Sister Lucy further explained, "It would become clearer at that time."

(From his conference on the Third Secret, see it in

3. Announcement by Cardinal Sodano, May 13, 2000

a) Is “the Bishop dressed in White” John Paul II?

Cardinal Sodano: 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 13 May 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 [1994], 1061).

Commentary: These words of the Cardinal on May 13 were the first public mention of the content of the Secret.  He applied the prophecy to Pope John Paul II.  Thus, immediately, the Vatican gave an interpretation, directing the minds in one direction.

Therefore, as Fr Delestre points out (see next article), “to glorify the person of John Paul II also implies to glorify the orientations of a pontificate which has never ceased to apply in every domain, the ‘new Conciliar orientations’.  Thus we are lead to the glorification of the II Vatican Council itself, with the help of a mutilated Third Secret which is interpreted exactly in the opposite direction of the true meaning of the integral Third Secret.  Perverse inversion behind which, without doubt, is to be found the powers of Darkness”.

b) Is the Third Secret something of the past or not?

Cardinal Sodano: 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.

Commentary:  Various Cardinals (Sodano, Ratzinger) insist that it is of the past, but this quote implies that it could be continuing!   “…facts which extend through time in an unspecified succession and duration…”   If it is unspecified, how can they specify it?

c) Willful misquotation?

Cardinal Sodano:  “… 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.

Text of the Third Secret:  “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;  (…) 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 other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.”

The Cardinal is not following the text: 

1) the Text says was killed ;  the Cardinal: apparently dead;  

2) In the text, the bishops, priests, etc. seemed to have been killed after the Pope. The Cardinal puts them already dead among the corpses through which the Pope walked.

d) Past or present events?

Cardinal Sodano:  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 twentieth century. …

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 twentieth century, remains timely and urgent today.

Commentary: The Cardinal insists that the secret refers to the past but he has to admit that persecution is not finished! How to say something to draw the attention on it, and then admit its contrary!

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 (…)

4. Theological Commentary, by Cardinal Ratzinger

a) Again: the Third Secret is over, is of the past:

Cardinal Ratzinger No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled. We see the Church of the martyrs of the century which has just passed represented in a scene described in a language which is symbolic and not easy to decipher.

Commentary: Fr Delestre: The whole eschatological and politico-social dimension which constituted the importance, the singularity and the specificity of the apparitions of Fatima have disappeared.  All is over, Fatima must line up behind all the other Marian apparitions, must become a ‘normal’, ‘classical’ message

b) The “Public Revelation”

Cardinal Ratzinger   The term “public Revelation” refers to the revealing action of God directed to humanity as a whole and which finds its literary expression in the two parts of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments.

Commentary: No mention of Tradition as source of Revelation!  Cf. Vatican. I (DzS 3006 quoting Trent DzS  1501):

“Revelatio (…) continetur ‘ in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ipsius Christi ore ab Apostolis acceptae, aut (ab) ipsis Apostolis Spiritu Sancto dictante quasi per manus traditae, ad nos usque pervenerunt ’ The Revelation (…) is contained in the written books and in the non-written traditions, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or handed down under the dictation of the Holy Ghost; these traditions have come all the way to us.”

c) Universal salvation?  A clear reference to Vatican II.

Cardinal Ratzinger:  It is called “Revelation” because in it God gradually made himself known to men, to the point of becoming man himself, in order to draw to himself the whole world and unite it with himself through his Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ.

Commentary:  A clear echo, almost a quote of Vatican II: “By His Incarnation, Christ has united Himself in a certain way with all men.” (Gaudium and Spes).

d) Who is entitled to interpret the Holy Scriptures, the Magisterium or any faithful?

Cardinal Ratzinger   The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in this regard: “...even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made fully explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries” (No. 66).

(…) The Second Vatican Council notes three essential ways in which the Spirit guides in the Church, and therefore three ways in which “the word grows”: through the meditation and study of the faithful, through the deep understanding which comes from spiritual experience, and through the preaching of “those who, in the succession of the episcopate, have received the sure charism of truth” (Dei Verbum, 8).

Commentary:  The ecumenical Protestant tendency of the Cardinal becomes very clear in this commentary.  Here, he, the Prefect of the Roman Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, leans towards the heresy of Sola Scriptura  which says that it is really up to the faithful to understand and interpret Scriptures… No real need of the Roman Magisterium for this, it only comes in third position!

2 Pet. 3, 15 – 16: “…our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.”

e) The obsession with the historical context of the faith,

Cardinal Ratzinger  (Private revelations are) “ to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history”.

Commentary: Implicit application: again, Fatima was for the past, just like Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus and St Pius X’s Pascendi.  It was all good, but then, no longer today.  (Card. Ratzinger did use these last two as example in a document to theologian some years ago.)

f) Cardinal Ratzinger’s authoritative reference: Fr Dhanis

Cardinal Ratzinger   The Flemish theologian E. Dhanis, an eminent scholar in this field, states succinctly that ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation has three elements: the message contains nothing contrary to faith or morals; it is lawful to make it public; and the faithful are authorized to accept it with prudence (E. Dhanis,Sguardo su Fatima e bilancio di una discussione, in La Civiltà Cattolica 104 [1953], II, 392-406, in particular 397). Such a message can be a genuine help in understanding the Gospel and living it better at a particular moment in time; therefore it should not be disregarded. It is a help which is offered, but which one is not obliged to use.

Commentary:  Cardinal Ratzinger dares to quote the most virulent opponent of Fatima, Fr Dhanis, S.J. as “an eminent scholar”.  See The Whole Truth on Fatima, vol. 1, pp. 389 – 410 (English edition).  Br. Michael gives the background to the text quoted by the Cardinal from La Civilta Cattolica (cf. Br. Michael, footnote 7).

It is Fr Dhanis’ influence that has cast doubts in the Popes mind since 1944 on Fatima and has prevented the consecration of Russia, seen by him as a political outrage to Russia..

g) The Devotion to the Immaculate Heart. 

Cardinal Ratzinger:  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 fiat—“your will be done”—the defining center of one's whole life

Commentary Our Lady had said in the First Part: 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 Cardinal shifts from the devotion to the Immaculate Heart to the sixth beatitude.  Where is Our Lady in the Cardinal’s text?  According to him, anyone can therefore become (!) ‘immaculate heart’???

h) The famous Protestant objection: there is only One Mediator! 

Cardinal Ratzinger  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?

Commentary: Response of the Cardinal:  Our Lady is only there as a model, like St Paul:

What a shrewd way to divert the attention on Her role of Mediatrix! “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”  This is not just a question of imitation, it involves prayer to Her, it involves her power of Mediation.  How many times in Fatima, Our Lady asked for the recitation of the Rosary?  We can see here a clear influence of the Protestant denial of the dogma of the intercession of the Saints.

i) The ‘anti-fatimist” thesis of Fr Dhanis, S.J.

Cardinal Ratzinger:  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.

Commentary: The Cardinal follows the thesis of Fr Dhanis in a subtle way, even casting doubt on the origin of the whole third secret  “…images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books…”  In other words, she may have invented it!

Fr. Dhanis had said about the vision of hell: “The vision of hell corresponds to the idea that the children had. The seers received a very intense knowledge of the horror of sin and damnation, and little by little this knowledge evoked a vision in their imagination.”  Br. Michael continues: “Dhanis says that it was an intimate, inexpressible experience, which the children clumsily described according to the medieval ideas received from the catechism” (vol. 1, pp.404-405).  Strangely enough, Ratzinger speaks of ‘devotional books’ and ‘long-standing intuitions of faith’ after having quoted this ‘eminent scholar’ ! 

j) First Conclusion of Cardinal Ratzinger: Fatima is now over.

Cardinal Ratzinger:  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.

Commentary:  Incredible.  Is that the first most important conclusion to be drawn from it all?!!  Is it all over with, now?  Is it really?  What about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart?  What about the conversion of Russia – to Catholicism, obviously, not to capitalism?

k) Second Conclusion of Cardinal Ratzinger: we are all immaculate.

Cardinal Ratzinger   “(…) 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. (…) 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.

Commentary:  So, My Immaculate Heart will triumph simply means that human freedom is more powerful for what is good than for evil!!!!!  That is an incredible subversion of the famous quote.  Read the Cardinal’s sentence again. 

Firstly, Our Lady says “My Immaculate Heart”, she doesn’t glorify man’s freedom at all; secondly there is only one who is the Immaculate Conception; according to the Cardinal, every heart – he says “human freedom” absolutely, without distinction – is the Immaculate Heart?!  Thirdly, what is says is denied by St Paul’s constant teaching of the inner struggle between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ man.  He should re-read Roman chapter 7.  We reach here implicitly the heresy of universal salvation, sincethe freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word”.  It means that, since the Incarnation, man always chooses in the end what is good, therefore will be saved.

In all this theological commentary, Cardinal Ratzinger manifests a clear ecumenical spirit in order to please the Protestants:

§         He omits the mention of the oral Tradition as a source of Revelation (Sola Scriptura);

§         He puts the meditation, study and the spiritual experience of the faithful as the first two means of interpreting Scripture (free interpretation – ‘libre examen’).  The Magisterium of the Church only comes third.

§         Against Our Lady, he first pushes her aside, saying that the expression “Immaculate Heart” simply refers to the ‘Clean of Heart’ of the 6th Beatitude.

§         Then, he eliminates her role as intercessor, as Mediatrix, by saying that she is, like St Paul, simply a model of Christian life, a model to imitate, nothing more.  No mention of her intercessory role.

§         Finally, by an implicit denial of the consequences of original sin (the tendency to do evil), he changes completely the obvious meaning of ‘My Immaculate Heart will triumph’ – which is a victory of Our Blessed Lady – by saying that this expression simply means that human freedom is more powerful for what is good than for evil.

5. Other remarks by Fr Gruner’s Fatima Center (from

a) Not a single word of Our Lady

“There is another serious question regarding the Vatican interpretation,” said Father Kramer. “The Vatican’s official booklet notes that Sister Lucia’s memoirs containing the words of Our Lady in the first two parts of the Secret end with the crucial phrase ‘In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. . . .’ That phrase just hangs there, out of all context with the previous paragraphs, leading everyone to assume that the thought would be completed in the text of the Third and final part of the Secret, following the ‘etc.’”

Father Kramer noted that, contrary to all expectations, the text of the Third Secret contains no further words of Our Lady of Fatima. “It seems difficult to believe that the spoken words of Our Lady of Fatima end with the ambiguous ‘etc.’ Where is the rest of what Our Lady of Fatima had to say?” Father Kramer further noted that the Vatican’s notice in 1960 regarding its decision to suppress publication of the Secret in that year referred specifically to the decision not to reveal “the words of Our Lady” contained in the text of the Secret. “But the text of the Third Secret released yesterday contains no words of Our Lady at all. This raises a serious question in the minds of many people.”

b) Conversion of Russia

Father Kramer added that the Vatican commentary makes no reference to the Conversion of Russia predicted in the first two parts of the Secret. “The conversion of Russia is identified by Our Lady of Fatima as the very Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, the focal point of the Message of Fatima. Amazingly, the Ratzinger commentary on the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart in the Vatican booklet on the Secret makes no reference whatever to the conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith. This conversion of Russia has apparently been written out of the Message of Fatima, never to be mentioned again by the Vatican. Meanwhile, the abortion rate has soared in Russia, its government is dominated by atheistic ‘ex-communists’ and recycled KGB agents, and Russian society is falling to pieces.”

Father Kramer drew a link between yesterday’s publication of the Secret and a Vatican news conference today at which Vatican Secretary of State, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, and Mikhail Gorbachev spoke to the press regarding the memoirs of the late Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, entitled “The Martyrdom of Patience: 1963 to 1989.” Casaroli’s memoirs defend the Secretary of State’s policy of Ostpolitik or silence and non-confrontation toward communist regimes which oppress Catholics

Father Kramer continued: “It seems that the Vatican’s ‘spin’ is that Ostpolitik has brought about the supposed ‘fall of communism’ and that this merely political event is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, leading to a brave new world of brotherhood represented by people like Gorbachev. But the Gorbachev Foundation promotes reduction of the world’s population through contraception and abortion. It is a disgrace that this pro-abortion, one-world government globalist was made a guest of honor at the Vatican one day after we are told about the Third Secret. This is a gross insult to the Blessed Virgin.”

Father Kramer observed that no questions were permitted during the Gorbachev/Sodano news conference. “Whoever heard of a press conference at which the press is not allowed to ask any questions? Clearly, the Vatican press office did not wish anyone in the audience to spoil the illusion that the Message of Fatima has been fulfilled with the ‘fall of communism,’ and that people like Gorbachev represent the promising new future of mankind.”

6. Why did John XXIII and Paul VI not reveal the Third Secret of Fatima? 

A declaration of the Pope’s theologian, Fr George Cottier.

It is a question of pastoral prudence.  John XXIII or Paul VI could have revealed the content of the message.  Pope Roncalli had the great intuition of the Ocuncil, but could he have convoked an assembly addressing itself to all men of good will, which would not even close its doors to its persecutors, and at the same time speak of chastisements inflicted by these same persecutors?  Paul VI sought openings in Eastern Europe where the Church was being martyred, to study the least possibility to come to the aid of Christians on the other side of the Iron Curtain.  Could he publish a text which spoke so openly of persecutions?  (From Zenit, June 30, 2000)

Our answer: Indeed! When Heavens demands it!

7. Last remark: The First Saturday Communions

In the whole document, apart from the actual text of the second part of the Secret, there is not a single mention of the Devotion to the First Saturdays, which is one of the conditions laid by Our Lady for the conversion of Russia.  “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.”

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