The Third Secret Controversy—Part III

Numerous critics believe the Vatican has not yet revealed the entire Third Fatima Secret.  In recent years, with the evidence mounting, the Vatican has gone to extreme measures to continue the cover-up.

The "Inside the Vatican" Report

On October 26, 2001, various Italian newspapers, and particularly Inside the Vatican, an independent religious magazine, ran the headline: "The Secret of Fatima: More to Come?" The gist of the article was the claim that Sr. Lucia had sent a letter to John Paul II warning him that his life was in danger, and that the events spoken of in the Third Secret had not yet occurred. The letter was said to have also included an appeal to fully reveal the Third Secret, together with a warning that "soon there will be great upheaval and punishment." "Bishop" de Sousa of Fatima apparently confirmed that a letter had been sent, but denied that it expressed fear for the "life of the pope."

The article also reported that an Italian priest, "Fr." Luigi Bianchi, claimed to have met with Sr. Lucia and, as a result, expressed doubt that the Vatican had fully revealed the Third Secret.  The article then gave a puzzling reply by "Cardinal" Ratzinger: "Recent rumors of a letter are only the continuation of an old polemic fed by certain people of dubious credibility, with the objective of destabilizing the internal equilibrium of the Roman Curia..." Now how on earth could "people of dubious credibility" succeed in "destabilizing... the Roman Curia," unless members of the Curia were in agreement with them, or perhaps supplying them with information.

The article maintained that it was not clear whether "Fr." Bianchi had obtained the necessary permission to speak with Sr. Lucia, thus underlining an amazing fact—Sr. Lucia was the only person on earth whom one needed a special permission from the Vatican to speak with. This was so even after the Vatican had supposedly revealed the entire Third Secret, but why? If there was nothing more to reveal, why the gag order? Why all the secrecy?

Two Parts to the Third Part?

Sr. Lucia had always maintained that the Secret of Fatima has three parts. But does the Third part have two parts?  The evidence that it does began as early as 1952, when Pope Pius XII sent an Austrian Jesuit, Fr. Joseph Schweigl, to question Sr. Lucia in her convent at Coimbra.  After the interview, which took place on September 2, Fr. Schweigl stated: "I may not reveal anything with regard to the Third Secret, but I am able to say that it has two parts: One part concerns the Pope.  The other part is the logical continuation—though I may not say anything—of the words: 'In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.' "

Indeed, that the Third Secret contained the words of Our Lady, had already been revealed by Fatima expert Canon Casimir Barthas, after his interview with Sr. Lucia concerning the Third Secret on October 17-18, 1946.   Barthas had stated: "The text of the words of Our Lady was written by Sister Lucia and enclosed in a sealed envelope."  But the Vatican's version of the Third Secret contained no words of Our Lady!

Cardinal Ottaviani also interviewed Sr. Lucia concerning the Third Secret, in 1955.  He later revealed (in 1967): "She wrote on a sheet of paper what Our Lady told her to tell the Holy Father."   It is a well-known fact that Ottaviani had by this time read the Third Secret himself, and could not possibly be mistaken.  So where is this paper with the words of Our Lady for the Holy Father?

Bertone Claims to Have Another Interview

Undoubtedly feeling the pressure, Vatican II Secretary of State "Cardinal" Bertone, who, as we have seen, has been handling (or mishandling) the Third Secret case, claimed on Dec. 21, 2001, that he had conducted another interview with Sr. Lucia a month before.  Again there have been no transcripts, tapes or corroborating testimony ever produced.  We have only Bertone's word that he questioned Sr. Lucia for more than two hours.  Yet Bertone only supplies a few words which he attributes to Sr. Lucia: "Everything has been published; there are no more secrets."  Then he claims to have asked her: "Is it true that speaking to Rev. Luigi Bianchi and Rev. José dos Santos Valinho, you cast doubt on the interpretation of the third part of the 'secret'?"   Sr. Lucia is supposed to have answered: "That is not true.  I fully confirm the interpretation made in the Jubilee Year."  (It should be noted that the "Rev." José dos Santos Valinho mentioned by Bertone is Sr. Lucia's nephew.)  We have already seen the absurdities of the "interpretation" made by Sodano, Bertone and Ratzinger in the year 2000.  The idea that Sr. Lucia would "fully confirm" it is also absurd.  Was Sr. Lucia pressured into giving this answer?  Was Bertone fabricating the answer?  Or was this another example of the Vatican "spin" machine?  Bertone himself provided a clue in May of 2007.  When asked again whether Sr. Lucia had "accepted the interpretation" of Cardinal Sodano, Bertone replied: "Certainly, even if not in these terms."   Now clearly there is a world of difference between "fully confirm" and "not in these terms."

It should also be noted that Sr. Lucia is supposed to have published a 303-page book entitled, The Appeals of the Message of Fatima, one month before the alleged interview.  In the book's preface, written by the "Bishop" of Fatima at that time, it is stated that Sr. Lucia had asked permission to write the book in order to "answer multiple questions in a global manner, not being able to answer every person individually."  Yet there is nothing in the book about the one question which was clearly foremost—has the whole Third Secret been disclosed?  If it has, why not put the matter to rest and just say so in the book?  Some have suggested that this was Sr. Lucia's way of denying what was attributed to her.

Needless to say, Bertone's interview satisfied very few, if any, of the critics of the Vatican's position.

A Journalist and a Living Witness

Loris Capovilla

On July 5, 2006, a young journalist, Solideo Paolini, who was researching a book he intended to write on the Third Secret, was granted an interview by the then 92-year-old "Archbishop" Loris Capovilla, a former personal secretary of John XXIII.  When Paolini informed him of the subject of his enquiry, Capovilla replied, "No, look, also to avoid any imprecision, since it has been revealed officially, I will limit myself to what has been said."  Then smiling openly, he continued, "Even if I should know something else... I must limit myself to what is said in the official documents.  You write the questions and send them to me, and I will answer them.  I will search through my documents... and I will send you something I have, maybe a phrase."  Capovilla smiled again when he spoke these last words.  Before Paolini left, Capovilla lectured him a little on the danger of mistaking fantasies for something supernatural.  Paolini had the impression that Capovilla did not believe everything Sr. Lucia had written in the Third Secret, that he considered some of it to be inauthentic or a product of her imagination.

Paolini promptly sent his list of questions, and on July 18 he received a package from Capovilla.  It contained Paolini's list of questions with Capovilla's handwritten answers, together with some other documents.   In answer to Paolini's question about the existence of any unpublished portions of the Third Secret, Capovilla's answer was: "Nulla so!"   This is a Sicilian phrase meaning "I can't say!"  Italians use it jokingly, when they are making an obvious attempt to evade a question.  One of the included documents turned out to be the biggest single piece of evidence against the official interpretation, and for the existence of another text.  It was a "reserved note" by Capovilla, dated May 17, 1967, recording the precise circumstances surrounding Paul VI's reading of the Third Secret, kept in the Papal apartment, on June 27, 1963.  Comparing the document with the Vatican's official interpretation, Paolini realized that there were two huge discrepancies: Bertone had claimed that Paul VI did not read the Third Secret until March 27, 1965; he also claimed that the Third Secret was kept exclusively in the archives of the Holy Office.

Paolini telephoned Capovilla and asked about the dates.  Capovilla protested, "Ah, but I spoke the truth. Look, I am still lucid!"  Capovilla then apparently tried to brush aside the issue, but when Paolini insisted, he replied: "But I am right, because perhaps the Bertone envelope is not the same as the Capovilla envelope."  A stunned Paolini then asked the clinching question: "Therefore, both dates are true, because there are two texts of the Third Secret?"  After a brief pause, Capovilla dropped the bomb: "Precisely so!"

Capovilla letter

Above is a photocopy of Capovilla's "reserved note"; below is a translation.  Note that the Italian word plico can be translated as "envelope," "package," or even "file."

Thursday the 27th of June 1963, I was on duty in the Anticamera in the Vatican.  Paul VI in the early morning received among others, Cardinal Fernando Cento (who had been Papal Nuncio to Portugal) and shortly afterwards the Bishop of Leiria Msgr. João Pereira Venancio.  Upon leaving, the Bishop asked for "a special blessing for Sister Lucia."

It is evident that during the audience, they spoke about Fatima.  In fact in the afternoon the Substitute Msgr. Angelo Dell'Acqua telephoned me on Via Casilina (I was a temporary guest of the Sisters of the "Poverelle"):

"I am looking for the envelope of Fatima.   Do you know where it is kept?"

"It was in the drawer on the right hand side of the desk, named 'Barbarigo,' in the bedroom."1

One hour later Dell'Acqua called me back: "Everything is okay.  The envelope has been found."

Friday morning (28 June) between one meeting and another Paul VI asked me: "How come on the envelope there is your name?"

"John XXIII asked me to write a note regarding how the envelope arrived in his hands with the names of all those to whom he felt he should make it known."

"Did he make any comment?"

"No, nothing except what I wrote on the outer cover: 'I leave it to others to comment or decide'."2

"Did he ever return to the subject?"

"No, never. However the devotion of Fatima remained alive in him."

1 It is called thus because it belonged to St. Gregory Barbarigo.   John XXIII received it as a gift from Co. Gius. Dalla Torre (1960).

2 See the attached note of agenda of John XXIII, 10 November, 1959.

The attached note, handwritten by John XXIII, mentions a previous meeting with the "young Bishop of Leiria... Mgr. J. Pereira Venancio" concerning Sr. Lucia.  It closes with: "The Holy Office will take care of everything..."

Paolini visited Capovilla again in June of 2007.   This time the old man showed evident frustration and made it obvious that he was being pressured by the Vatican to turn over all his documents concerning the Third Secret.   But he continued to confirm everything he had told Paolini.  Then he hinted at the existence of an attachment to the four page Vision Text, and made Paolini understand that "Church authorities" had deemed that it contained only the "thoughts" of Sr. Lucia, or words that she might have thought were from Our Lady—but which they had decided were not authentic!

Battle of the Books

After the death of Sr. Lucia on February 13, 2005, a well-known Italian journalist and television anchorman, Antonio Socci, wrote an article for the newspaper, Il Giornali, in which he blasted the so-called "Fatima critics."  He maintained they were all crazy fanatics, who had no proof on their side.  Solideo Paolini answered this criticism with an article of his own.  To his surprise he later received a phone call from Socci, who sincerely wanted to know more about the subject.  Paolini later sent Socci his information about Capovilla.   In less than 2 years, Antonio Socci went from being an ardent believer in the Vatican's "interpretation" to being its most ardent critic.  After exhaustive research, Antonio Socci published in November of 2006 his book entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima.  The author, who certainly can not be accused of being a fanatic partisan, made the Capovilla interview quite famous; which explains Capovilla's irritation at Paolini's last visit.

It also explains Bertone's frantic attempts at damage control.  Bertone, who by this time was 'Cardinal Secretary of State', decided to publish a book of his own.  In May of 2007, Bertone rushed to release his Last Visionary of Fatima (also called The Last Secret of Fatima), which is merely a transcript of his interview with a sympathetic journalist, Giuseppi De Carli, with a number of appendices.

Not surprisingly, Bertone claims in the book to have had yet another interview with Sr. Lucia, on December 9, 2003, but says nothing about what was said.  He claims that the three interviews lasted "at least ten hours" in total, and that he merely "took notes" instead of recording the sessions.  He also claims that, from the notes, he produced "edited minutes" of the meetings, which Sr. Lucia "signed with full conviction..."  Naturally enough, these signed "edited minutes" were never produced or published.

De Carli wanted to give the impression of asking "hardball" questions, so occasionally in the book he brings up a point of criticism; but he never really presses Bertone to answer the questions.  At one point he summarizes some of the evidence that the Third Secret was written on a single piece of paper, including the statement of Cardinal Ottaviani quoted above.  Then De Carli asks whether there might not be two documents—a single-page document and a four-page document. Bertone's replies:

The first document does not exist—it has never existed in the Archive of the Holy Office.  To arrive at the documents of the Archive three keys are necessary... I do not know what the words of Cardinal Ottaviani refer to.

Could it be that they refer to a document which existed somewhere else—the Papal apartment perhaps?  Later in the book Bertone is asked about the so-called "Capovilla envelope."  Rather than answer the question, he becomes indignant:

You know what they who use the magnifying glass of prejudice cling to?  They cling to the fact that in the "Secret" revealed there is not one word of the Virgin addressed to the shepherds... The words of the Virgin would have been temerariously censored, because they are considered devastating.   And on what stands the apodictic certainty that the "envelope" always remained in the "apartment," even in a drawer of the bedside table of the Pope?

Well, perhaps not always there, but that it was sometimes there is proven by Capovilla's document!  Oh, but to even look at that document would be to "use the magnifying glass of prejudice!"  But Bertone begins to slip when the issue of the "etc" is brought up:

One returns to the hashed and rehashed thesis that the attempt on the Pope of May 13, 1981 is not the content of the Third Secret. The "Third Secret" would be instead the sequel of the phrase "In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved etc..." that, according to the Fatimists, would be explosive.  After the "etc" there is, there would be, other text.

Oops! Note how the failed assassination of 1981 now is "the content of the Third Secret."  De Carli seems to realize that Bertone is losing it, so he frames his "question" in a way that mocks the critics:

That 'etc,' according to Socci and others... would allude to the text that the Vatican has not wished to reveal... because it is a boomerang against the Church.  The prediction of a planetary apostasy on the part of the Church.  An "Apocalypse Now" for Rome.  Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.  The smell in the air of the smoke of Satan...

De Carli has his Secrets confused.  The line about Rome losing the Faith is from the Secret of La Salette.  But Bertone does not mind; he now can duck the issue again, by going slightly nuclear:

They are pure ravings.  Excuse me, you wish that the prophecy of Fatima concerns the apostasy of the Church of Rome?  Rome the place of the Antichrist?  With the love the Madonna has for the Pope and the Pope for the Madonna?  All the Popes of the 20th century, including Pope Ratzinger?   Books can be written... which denounce the presence of a conspiracy, a warped plot, to not speak the truth but to transmit it in code.  And he who can understand, let him understand.  No, it is a reconstruction, an inquest... I am amazed that journalists and writers who proclaim themselves Catholic lend themselves to this game.

Speaking of "pure ravings," he can't really mean that one of the Popes of the 20th century was a "Pope Ratzinger," can he?  But De Carli helps out Bertone again, by setting up yet another post mortem "confession" of Sr. Lucia.  De Carli asks:

On the envelope of the Congregation was written "1960."  It was necessary to open it in that year... It was a precise wish of Sister Lucia?

Of course, Sr. Lucia had written something quite different, as we have already seen, and will see again.  Bertone's reply:

I asked Sister Lucia: "Was it the Madonna who suggested that date, to indicate a deadline so precise?"  She responded: "It was a decision of mine because I felt that 1960 would be a date very far from the writing of the 'Secret' in 1944 and because I had thought that I would be dead in that year, therefore the last obstacle to the interpretation and to the disclosure of the secret would have been taken away.  The Madonna did not communicate anything to me in that regard."  ...It was a fictitious date and Lucia confessed it with disarming candor.  (What is this mysterious "last obstacle to the interpretation"?)

How convenient!  Of course, since she is dead, no one can ask her!  Besides the utter nonsense that is here ascribed to Sr. Lucia, note how much it differs from the previous "confession" in Bertone's 2000 Vision interpretation (quoted in our last issue).

Not surprisingly, on May 12, 2007, just days after Bertone's book was released, Antonio Socci published this challenge in his column: "Dear Cardinal Bertone: Who—between you and me—is deliberately lying?"  As we shall see in the next part of this series, Bertone would go to great, even bizarre, lengths to meet this challenge.  But in doing so he would destroy whatever was left of his story.

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