The Third Secret Controversy—Part IV

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

Porta a Porta

Bertone's media blitz began with a friendly ally.  Italy's popular Porta a Porta ("Door to Door") television show agreed to do a program aired on May 31, 2007, entitled: "The Fourth Secret of Fatima Does Not Exist."  Host Bruno Vespa and a team of celebrities generally listened as Bertone, via a remote feed, put on his presentation while seated on a gilt chair in the Apostolic Palace.  Of course, the author of The Fourth Secret, Antonio Socci, was not invited.

Bertone began by claiming that John XXIII and Paul VI "decided not to publish it because they did not hold so significant, probably, for the life of the Church, the publication of the Third Secret."  This is a direct contradiction of all the previous explanations given for the "absolute seal" under which the Third Secret was placed in 1960.

Bertone next said that although the Third Secret is "private revelation... the perception of the words from 1917 to 1944—because she (Sister Lucia) wrote the Secret in 1944—she therefore memorized and registered indelibly in her memory, this perception and this interior locution."   What was he talking about?  He had previously claimed strenuously that the Third Secret contained "not one word of the Virgin."  Was this a slip of the tongue, revealing that the Third Secret does contain Our Lady's words?  Or was he subtly suggesting that there is an inauthentic text, which only refers to an "interior locution"—but not to an authentic vision?

The program continued with a "voiceover," which made a weak attempt at summarizing the doubts and criticisms voiced by so many concerning the Third Secret, and especially that the full text had been withheld. Bertone's responses were amazingly evasive.  Rather than categorically denying the claim, he merely said, "It seems to me a phantasmagorical reconstruction... a little problematic." Seems to me?  A little problematic?   Continuing the self-contradictions he claimed, "I don't want to enter into polemics."  Then why was he on the show?

Bertone then launched into the authentic routine: "John XXIII and Paul VI had read the text of the Secret, the integral, authentic text and the only text written by Sr. Lucia... When John Paul II made the decision to publish the Secret—I was present at the time of the meeting—he decided to publish all that actually existed in the archives of the Holy Office..."  Of course!  He was not going to publish that inauthentic text kept in the papal apartments.  It is much conjectured that Bertone is not outright lying, but attempting to use mental reservation.  So his words could be taken to mean that there is an authentic text, and another text—the only one written by Sr. Lucia; OR that Sr. Lucia only wrote one authentic text, and anything else she may have written is not authentic.

The show was half over before Bruno Vespa would call for that which millions of viewers were really waiting to see—the opening of the envelope.  Here we must look back at Bertone's Introduction to the 2000 Vision Text.  There he had said: "Before giving the sealed envelope containing the third part of the 'secret' to the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Sr. Lucia wrote on the outside envelope that it could be opened only after 1960..."  As we have seen, he later claimed that Sr. Lucia had told him that she, not the Blessed Virgin Mary, had invented that date.  Now Bertone had to face the music.  How was he to explain that the facts were actually quite different?   And how was he going to explain away Capovilla's testimony about two envelopes and two texts?  The best he could do was to attempt to confuse the audience.   Like a magician pulling scarves out of his sleeve or coins out of his ear, Bertone proceeded to produce not one, not two, but FIVE envelopes!First Envelope

The first was obviously a smoke screen: "First I will show you the orange envelope... the Italian translation of the Third Secret of Fatima, March 6, 1967.  We are in the times of Paul VI: this is the envelope that always accompanied the envelope, the older authentic envelope, that contains the original of the Third Secret..."  Bertone did not show the contents of the orange envelope, but merely held it up for the camera.  Even this diversion would cause him more problems, as part of the writing of the envelope was an inexplicable Roman numeral "II".  Is there another envelope bearing the Roman numeral "I"?

Second Envelope "And now we come to the white envelope.  This is the first envelope, very large, you can see, with the writing of Bishop Jose da Silva, Bishop of Leiria.  An envelope written by the Bishop of Leiria that contains the other envelopes until the authentic envelope that contains the Third Secret."  This outer sealed envelope does appear to be identical to that which was photographed with Bishop da Silva.

Third Envelope Next, Bertone pulled out a smaller yellowish envelope, which was addressed to Bishop da Silva, presumably by Sr. Lucia herself. Bertone pointed out that it is "without seals because it was put inside the large sealed envelope."  This explanation would turn out to be damaging to Bertone, as we will soon see.

Fourth Envelope Bertone proceeded to withdraw "a further envelope, with seals, and with the writing of Sr. Lucia, the authentic writing of Sr. Lucia, where she speaks of the year 1960..."  Bertone then displayed and read aloud that which he had so often contradicted before: "By express order of Our Lady, this envelope can only be opened in 1960 by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria."  As if nothing were amiss, Bertone then pulled the last rabbit out of his hat.

Fifth Envelope Incredibly it was another envelope!  Inside the sealed one!   And what was written on it?  Why exactly the same words: "By express order of Our Lady..."!  Bertone omitted to say what the camera was able to pick up—that this envelope was also sealed!  Why on earth would anyone put a sealed envelope inside another sealed envelope, with identical instructions, inside an unsealed envelope?  Did Bertone really expect the viewers, and the rest of the world, to believe this?  Especially after the publication of his book, Last Visionary, in which he had given yet another different explanation of the packaging of the Third Secret?  Just a few weeks earlier he had said there were only two envelopes: "An external with the note 'Third part of the Secret' and an internal of Sr. Lucia with the date '1960'."  In 2000 he had, as we have seen, stated exactly the opposite.  What he had now revealed on television was totally different to both!

Is it any wonder that so many people believe there must be another text?  Since there are, in fact, two sealed envelopes, both bearing the express order of Our Lady, is it not reasonable to assume that there must have been two texts—one inside each envelope?  That there were more than one outer envelope is to be expected.  But where is the outer envelope described by Capovilla—the one with his handwriting on it?  And where is the one, described by Bertone in his book, with the note, "Third Part of the Secret"?

Vision Text Finally Bertone pulled from the last envelope the expected Vision Text.  But it was not on four sheets of paper, as the Vatican website had made it appear, but on one sheet folded to make four pages—a folio of ruled notebook paper.   Now, it was all beginning to fit.  Recall that Sr. Lucia had written to Bishop da Silva in 1944: " (the Secret) is sealed in an envelope and it is in the notebooks."  She had earlier told Fr. Alonso that she was instructed to "write it in the notebooks in which I've been told to keep my spiritual diary, or if I wish, to write it on a sheet of paper, put it in an envelope, close it and seal it."  Sr. Lucia must have done both.  She wrote something on a sheet of paper and something in a notebook.  Both writings were then put in sealed envelopes.  But Bertone had only revealed the notebook writing.  In his book, Last Visionary, Bertone claims that Sr. Lucia had authenticated her writing in these words: "Yes, these are my sheets of paper... they are the sheets of paper that I used..."  Bertone was only producing one sheet of paper!

But Bertone wasn't finished contradicting himself and history.  He went on to maintain that "there was only this folio in the archive of the Holy Office in 1957, when by order of Our Lady and the Bishop of Leiria, Sr. Lucia accepted that the Secret be brought to Rome from the archives of the Patriarch of Lisbon..."  The historical record clearly shows that the Third Secret was personally delivered by Bishop Venancio from the chancery of Leiria to the papal nuncio in Lisbon, Msgr. Cento, who took it directly to Rome.  So unless Bertone is fabricating details, there must be another text—one that did not come from the archives of the Patriarch of Lisbon.

The program's team of experts had to make themselves appear useful somehow, so one of them, Marco Politi, while politely stating, "we are in agreement with Cardinal Bertone that there do not exist other documents," nonetheless pointed out, "...however there are oddities... Cardinal Ottaviani said that, as far as the contents, it was 25 lines, while here we have a text of 62 lines.  Papa Wojtila, to a group of German intellectuals, hinted that the Secret of Fatima speaks of great trials that await Christianity..."

Not surprisingly Bertone ignored the second problem.   He did concede the first as fact, but then engaged in some fuzzy math to try to explain it away: "To me it was a little amazing that Cardinal Ottaviani had said categorically a sheet of 25 lines, because the Cardinal, the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation of the Holy Office, had in his hand physically and at different times the Third Secret, also showing it himself to the plenaria (full assembly) of Cardinals (remember, that earlier in the program, Bertone has said that the Vatican did not consider the Third Secret to be "so significant")... maybe Cardinal Ottaviani held it in his hand like this (holding up one side of the folio) and one sees that there are... 16 lines (on page 4) plus 9 (on page 1)... Therefore, 16 plus 9 are 25, without counting the following pages.  This could be an explanation." The trouble is that the total number of lines on the indicated pages is 30, not 25.  It is inconceivable that this could have been an "honest mistake" on the part of Bertone.  It is also inconceivable that Ottaviani could have failed to look on the other side of the folio.

In the final minutes of the broadcast, the "1960 problem" was brought up again.  Vespa reminded Bertone, "But you, Cardinal, said that Our Lady said not before 1960."

Bertone raised his hand defensively and insisted, "Yes, a prescription of the Virgin.  But I asked her: 'Is it really the Madonna who ordered that the envelope not be opened before 1960, or was it you who set that date?'  And Sr. Lucia answered me literally: 'It was I who set that date.'  The Madonna did not want that the Secret be known.  This is a firm point, even if she decided to write it with the permission of the Madonna, but to deliver it as a secret that could not be published.  'It was I who thought that 1960 would be a term sufficient to be able to open the envelope.'  And she said, 'And I thought that perhaps I would be dead and not be involved in the Secret'."

This was now the third widely different version of Sr. Lucia's "confession" Bertone had given over the course of seven years.   This explanation was the most bizarre of all.  If Our Lady did not want the Secret to be known, why would She give permission to write it down?  And what about the fact that this claim of Bertone makes Sr. Lucia out to be a lying fraud?  In his book, Last Visionary, written just weeks before, Bertone made her out to be a saint!

Bertone next gave his fifth different version of Sr. Lucia's alleged acceptance of the Vatican interpretation of the Third Secret—linking it with the failed assassination attempt on John Paul II; this was followed by his fourth different version of Sr. Lucia's alleged acceptance of John Paul II's "consecration of the world."

Vatican Radio

Perhaps realizing that his performance was not convincing, Bertone arranged for yet another interview, six days later, on Vatican Radio. After describing Sr. Lucia as "a Sister who had memorized with a meticulous perfection everything that 'Our Lady'... had communicated to her...", Bertone gave his sixth different version of Sr. Lucia's alleged acceptance of the Vatican interpretation.  He was then asked for his "opinion" about the possibility that not everything had been revealed.   "I am firmly convinced by the documentation that was in the Secret Archive of the Holy Office... and by the explicit declarations of Sr. Lucia in the presence of the Bishop of Fatima, that there is nothing else: the Third Secret is this, from the first to the last word."  Firmly convinced?  Shouldn't he be certain?   What explicit declarations?  Where are the transcripts?  What did she say?  Bertone was only digging himself a deeper hole by these reckless statements.

Bertone continued with more fuzzy math: "There are 62 lines.  Here, if you like, 25 lines from one side of the folio—as is cited by Cardinal Ottaviani, who spoke of a folio of 25 lines, I have also attempted perhaps to interpret, to explain, to justify this affirmation of Cardinal Ottaviani; and then the other lines—16 plus 16—from the other part of the folio and therefore there is nothing else!  Now, I cannot accept that there are other secrets, that there is a fourth secret."  He only succeeded in underlining the fact that no combination of pages equals 25, and yet Ottaviani did indeed say "25 lines."

What about the famous "etc"?  To Bertone it doesn't exist.  It has been virtually replaced by ellipses ("..."): "That famous phrase 'In Portugal the faith will always be kept intact' is contained in another writing of Sr. Lucia and closes with ellipses, as we know, a part of the memoirs of Sr. Lucia.  Enough: there is nothing else!"   Not only has Bertone changed the wording—it should be, "In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved"—but changing "etc" into "..." makes a world of difference.  While they may mean the same thing, ellipses are often used, when quoting someone's words, to indicate that a sentence was not completed by the speaker.  The "etc" of Sr. Lucia's memoirs clearly indicates that spoken words have been left out!

Bertone again failed to even mention Capovilla's testimony.  But this sore spot could not be left untreated for long.


The venue chosen to attempt to defuse Capovilla's testimony (after a rather lame interview published, of all places, in a women's fashion magazine), was an event held on Sept. 21, 2007 and televised on the Telepace religious network.  Bertone's alleged reason for the event was to "present" his book, Last Visionary.  Since his book had been published and "presented" months before, it obviously had another purpose.   After Vatican security had physically removed Antonio Socci and Solideo Paolini from the premises, the show began with, strangely enough, the retired "bishop of Fatima", Serafim de Sousa, announcing that he had come to say "nothing, almost nothing. I wish to testify only to one fact and it is the following..."  He then stated that he had been present when Sr. Lucia had authenticated "the original envelope which contained the secret."  The show had just begun and already there were more holes in the story.  Bertone had shown two "original" envelopes on television.  De Sousa said nothing about the "explicit declarations" mentioned by Bertone in his radio interview.  He said nothing about Sr. Lucia's supposed confession about the 1960 date.  And yet Bertone had stated that De Sousa was present for both of these incredible events.

De Sousa finished by repeating the authentic mantra: "The Secret of Fatima has now been revealed in an authentic and integral way."  Now why did he even use such language if there were nothing to hide?

The surprise guest of the show was really no surprise.  A carefully edited videotaped interview with Capovilla was then played.   And it was no surprise that the interviewer was Giuseppe De Carli, Bertone's collaborator in the Last Visionary.  De Carli began by maintaining that Capovilla was "notwithstanding his advanced age, a miracle of lucidity" and that "the precision of his recollection is absolute."  Indeed!  De Carli then read part of a dossier sent to Bertone by Capovilla: "The assertion which has come to be attributed to me, according to which I would have explicitly declared that there is a part of the Third Secret not revealed, is not borne out by any document."   Very clever.  True, he did not declare it in a document; he declared it verbally to Solideo Paolini, and backed up his declaration with documents.

De Carli asked Capovilla: "In the text read by you in 1959 it speaks of a 'bishop dressed in white' who is killed at the foot of a large cross?"

Capovilla answered, "Yes, it speaks of this; this appeared to us to be the nucleus of that private revelation..."  The nucleus?

De Carli: "And why, according to you, does it continue to be written that John XXIII would have read not this text, but another text, the so-called 'Fourth Secret' that the church would have thus far kept hidden?"

Capovilla: "How can it be said that it was hidden?  The Third Secret was read by John XXIII; I, his little secretary, have seen it... Tardini... Samore... Dell'Aqua... Ottaviani... Agagianian... Sigismondi, saw it."  Incredibly, Capovilla did not deny that there exists another text; he only denied that it has been hidden, because a handful of people have seen it.

De Carli: "And the conclusion of this collective reading?"

Capovilla: "That none of those who had read the text asked John XXIII to publish it, to speak of it.  He hesitated, then decided: 'I have seen it, I have read it, we will reseal it.'  He dictated to me a text to write on the envelope: I give no judgment.  He deferred to others: to a commission, to a congregation, or to his successor."  Capovilla had just confirmed the document he mailed to Paolini, and underscored the fact that, in spite of the five envelopes shown by Bertone, there was still at least one missing, bearing Capovilla's notation.

Capovilla was never shown the text published on the Vatican website or on Porta a Porta, when it could so easily have been done to obtain his verification.  Instead, the man with the amazing memory and lucidity stated that he didn't know how long the Third Secret was or how many pages it was written on.

De Carli continued: "Can we affirm, after what you have said, that the secret read by John XXIII is not the 'Fourth Secret', but is, simply, the Secret published and discussed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?"

Capovilla: "I will tell you more.  When I heard talk of 'Fourth Secret' I was amazed.  It had never passed through my head that there exists a fourth secret.  No one had said that to me, neither have I affirmed anything of that kind."  Of course not; The Fourth Secret is part of a book title.  Both these gentlemen know very well that the issue is not a "fourth secret," but rather a missing part of the Third Secret.

The videotape ended, and De Carli then solemnly defined to the live audience, "I conclude, therefore, there is not a Capovilla envelope in contrast to a Bertone envelope.  The two envelopes are the same document."  If this is so, then why didn't Capovilla just say so himself?   Why does De Carli have to "conclude" on his behalf?

The reader may be asking at this point, what exactly was edited out of the videotape?  Just a couple of bombshells, which fortunately have survived via transcripts. Here is the first:

De Carli: "He (John XXIII) also read the translation from Portuguese to Italian?"

Capovilla: "Yes, certainly."

The reader may remember Envelope No. 1, shown by Bertone on Porta a Porta.  He said it contained the translation of the Third Secret.  It is dated 1967—after the death of John XXIII.  Evidently there was a translation available in 1959.  So why would there be a second translation—unless, of course, there exist two documents.  This would explain the Roman numeral "II" on Bertone's orange envelope.

Bombshell number two consisted of De Carli trying to explain away the fact that Paul VI had read two documents at two different times:

De Carli: "Paul VI read the same message two times.  Is that so?"

Capovilla: "Yes, it is so."

De Carli: "The first time was... June 27, 1963; the second, March 27, 1965."

Capovilla then repeated exactly the same story he had given Paolini documented evidence of—that in 1963 Paul VI read the text of the Third Secret kept in a desk in the papal apartments.  Capovilla ended his statement with the clincher: "The envelope was resealed and I don't know if it was spoken of further."

This entirely blows away the Vatican's official version, published in 2000, which stated: "...John XXIII decided to return the sealed envelope to the Holy Office and not to reveal the third part of the 'secret'."  And again: "Paul VI read the contents... on 27 March, 1965, and returned the envelope to the Archives of the Holy Office, deciding not to publish the text."  So John XXIII returned an envelope to the Holy Office.  This cannot be the same envelope spoken of by Capovilla.  It was the "Holy Office" envelope, and not the "Capovilla" envelope that Paul VI read in 1965.  No wonder that, in spite of De Carli's carefully leading questions, Capovilla's response had to be edited out of the videotape.

In the end Bertone's media blitz had only made things much worse for him and the cover-up.  Not only was there no real denial of Capovilla's testimony about a missing second text, there were numerous confirmations of the evidence supporting its existence.  Before Socci and Paolini were thrown out of Bertone's TV show, they were able to play for reporters an audiotape of Capovilla's statements to Paolini.  On the tape Capovilla can be heard saying: "Besides the four pages there was also something else, an attachment, yes."  This fact was published in a major Italian newspaper, Il Giornale. The mystery continues.........

Back to "In this Issue"

Back to Top

Reference Library The Story of Fatima The Message of Fatima The Fatima Cell The Holy Rosary
Salve Maria Regina Bulletin The Angel of Portugal Promise & Plan of Our Lady Cell Meeting Outline Fatima Devotions & Prayers
Marian Apparitions & Shrines Jacinta Modesty Monthly Cell Program Seasonal Devotions
Calendars Francisco Scapular Consecration Cell Reference Material "The Fatima Prayers"
Saints "Here You See Hell..." Living our Consecration Rosary Crusaders Litany of Loreto

Contact us:

Visit also:

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!