Manuscript Comment

A priest is reviewing the manuscript for On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima. Upon looking at it, he made the following declarations to me over the phone:

You’ve thrown everything in but the kitchen sink! I truly thought that you would not have been able to write this much. You’ve proven me wrong. Fifteen years ago, writing this kind of book would not have been possible; there was simply not enough [material] to do so. This [manuscript] has the feel of a dissertation. Pity you can’t use it as such.”
You can say that again, Padre!
Oh, and look what came in the mail the other day:
20161128_181822aDraft Review #2!

Thanksgiving Travels

Hi Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (for those in the United States)! This post is a little update about my own life and travels.

I am in Minnesota for the holiday, a little over 5 hours from my home. I am spending the break with some good people outside of the Twin Cities. I left work on Tuesday and braved the oncoming snow storm, arriving at my destination around 8:30 p.m. with a 15 to 20-minute delay. The weather and a bad car wreck was the cause of the delay. It made me appreciate more so that I have been driving for so long in the South that it is important for me to get used to driving again in the North. Thankfully, I got new tires back in September that are made for this sort of weather.

Speaking of those tires, I have been meaning to tell a story about how I got them. For a while there was a funny noise coming from the front left tire. It needed to be checked, that and an oil change for in order. After both road trips (June and September), things were needing to be checked. I go to the mechanic on September 29 and while I was waiting, the mechanic brought me out to the auto-body area. The car was on the lift and my attention was drawn to the tires. You should have seen their condition!! They were frayed and cracking so bad that the attendant told me I would have to sign a waiver just to leave the property on those tires!


This was the worst tire.

I took some photos after the tires were removed, but they don’t do justice to what I saw with the air still in the tires. It was horrible! Needless to say, I had to get new ones. If ever there was proof for the existence of Guardian Angels, I just saw it. How I ever made it up to Wisconsin on those tires is beyond me. Yes, they could have frayed after my arrival, but that would have been quite quick with a 16-day time window from my arrival to the tires being changed.

I attended Mass on Thanksgiving Day at St. Ann’s parish. A friend of mine will be getting married at this parish next year and I can see why. It was a beautiful parish with a rather reverent liturgy (Novus Ordo). Here is a picture of the sanctuary:


In other news, I have been thinking a lot about my friend Paul Coakley lately. I miss him, though I am sure not like his wife and children do. Every so often his wife posts on Facebook about some event in the family. The ones where she mentions the kids missing Paul wrench my gut. Others, however, give me a lot of hope. One of the kids made her pancakes for breakfast, went into her room and surprised her. She took a photo and shared it, the grin on the child’s face was sheer Paul all over. Paul lives on in his children and I thank God for this fact, and I tell people that as one of his boys continues to look just like him. The resemblance is truly uncanny.

I have also had cause recently to stop and reflect upon how loving Paul was. Between some personal things going on right now and my work on the Fátima book, I ask myself about the nature of love and can I live up to it? Paul set the standard so high that there is little doubt in my mind that there was a heroic character to it. As this pertains to all things Fátima, there is so much negativity with respect to the third part of its secret. So many accusations of a conspiratorial nature that drag down one’s spirit if caution is not taken. The Message of Fátima is more about loving God than it is these controversies. Yes, I understand why people engage in them, but I cannot help but wonder if there is more vitriol than valor in it.

I ask myself how Paul would have handled such things. Truly, he would not have cared about the controversies at all. He would have been more concerned about Fátima itself and simply praying the Rosary (most likely with friends or family). Keeping this fact before me helps me to “keep it real” as the expression goes, i.e. to stay focused on what matters. In this spirit, then, while I may disagree with some writers as to their understanding of the third part of the secret of Fátima, I do my best to hold charity in my heart. Polemics are going to get people nowhere and we are judged by our actions. Let us make them good ones, oriented to doing the Will of our Father in heaven (cf. Mt. 7:21; 12:50).

In some related news, the Cheesy-Biscuit with Eggslow carb “LCHF” diet is continuing on along. My weight stays around 210 pounds. I am about due for a good intermittent fasting period with all this turkey on the table. My friends here in MN are getting into LCHF-friendly cooking so the holiday went well diet-wise. I am reasonably happy with my continued progress. Maintenance-phase is the best and if anyone reading this is thinking of going low-carb, I promise that you will love not only the weight loss, but the maintenance as well. Yes, you make some sacrifices, but you gain a lot of other things as well, like the cheesy biscuit recipe (that I really happen to like), a picture of which is to the left.

Ok, weight loss sales pitch is over, I promise.

Yesterday I went out to Mass and then do a little shopping. Yes, it was Black Friday. I kept things light and bought a Christmas present for my friends down in Waco. I also took a little visit over to Loomes Theological Booksellers (LTB) in Stillwater.


This visit was my first to the company in person, though I have been working with them for some time now through phone orders. Now I knew the store was located on a farm, but I had not considered the possibility of free-roaming chickens and roosters cluttering the road. I am happy to report that we did not have chicken for dinner last night….

Meanwhile, if it is possible to experience something of heaven on this side of eternity, yesterday was proof. In truth, at first I did not get past the front desk where they had a nice selection of eye-candy, uh, I mean books. Eventually, I made my way through to other areas over the course of about 3 hours or so. Time has no meaning in that place as it passes by without notice or incidence. Before I got too into browsing the shelves, I got to meet Christopher Hagen, the owner of Loomes.

It was nice to meet him in person after all the phone orders and what-not. Loomes has been a tremendous help to my research—particularly with my Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael book. It has also been helpful with the work on Fátima (yes, I found some new books there yesterday as well), particularly with a KJS-CHbook from Frère François last year.

I am happy to report that there are two hidden gems available at Loomes which are not readily known to the public. The first is that there are FREE BOOKS!!!!

Every so often, people will drop off their books at the store. Mr. Hagen will look at them and realize that he cannot sell them for some reason or another (usually a defect). The person does not want to take them back, so Mr. Hagen makes them available in the back room (the St. Anthony of Padua room, I think it was called) for people to peruse and grab what they want. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that there were several volumes of an Old Testament lexicon (Greek) available. They are now awaiting the return home and a place on my shelf.

The second gem is that also in the back room are other books available, but for a minor cost. These are books that are lined up on bookshelves for easy perusing and cost about $3 per book. A deal option is available if you pick out more than $30 worth but can fit everything (and then some) into one box. The whole box will cost you $30, even if you have more than the 10 books (10 x $3) required!

These books are not catalogued, so the policy is walk-ins only. If you are Catholic and around Stillwater, MN—get to Loomes!!

Tomorrow I will be heading down to St. Agnes for Mass at 10 a.m. This trip promises to be good as I heard beautiful things about St. Agnes.

I think that is about it for this post. May you all enjoy the remainder of your Thanksgiving holiday!


Fátima Book Update-3

Hi Everyone! I hope that you are doing well and preparing for the upcoming holiday!

I am happy to report that work has been completed on the second major draft of the manuscript. It is with great joy that I can relay that the end is in sight. One or two research items are still out. Once that is all wrapped up and incorporated, I can begin the process of final editing.

I am truly excited with this news. The work has been tremendously taxing, worth it of course, but very taxing. I have worked in different ways with six foreign languages for this research. My brain is tired.

Cardinal Bertone Interview

The Sanctuary of Fátima publishes a journal entitled Fatima XXI. It is a very nicely arranged journal with many interesting articles.

For my research on the third part of the secret, I found an interview between the Portuguese journalist Aura Miguel and Cardinal Bertone entitled Fátima: A Message for the Church, a Call to Community and to Humanity. I thought it was a very interesting article. While lengthy, I have excised the parts wherein Aura Miguel and Bertone spoke on the topic of the third part of the secret.

I leave the interview in the Portuguese language. If anyone feels up to translate it, please contact me. Meanwhile, we jump in media res….


Fátima: Uma Mensagem para a Igreja, um Apelo à Comunidade e à Humanidade

Tarcisio Bertone entrevistado por Aura Miguel[1]

A.M. E o que mais o impressiona na mensagem?

Card. B.: È a oração e a penitência, sem dúvida. Mas é também, e sobretudo, a extrema proximidade de Nossa Senhora ao povo cristão e à Igreja; é esta presença de Maria, uma presença que se revela num acompanhamento muito terno, desde que somos crianças – vemo-lo com os pastorinhos, como Ela se revela e se mostra especialmente aos mais pequenos. Mas não só, porque depois também acompanha os cristãos, é forte e ajuda-nos, como num campo de batalha e depois também como a invocava frequentemente o beato João XXIII (a entrevista teve lugar antes da canonização de João XXIII], auxilium episcoporum, auxilio dos bispos…

A.M.: Ao Cardeal Bertone foi confiada a revelação da terceira parte do segredo. Como viveu esta aventura?

Card. B.: Foi uma maneira peculiar de me aproximar do mistério de Fátima, porque fui encarregado de estudar o processo para a publicação dos escritos da Irmã Lúcia que se referiam à terceira parte do segredo e de retirar do arquivo secreto do então Santo Oficio – da Congregação para a Doutrina da Fé – este preciosíssimo manuscrito da Irmã Lúcia, sobretudo o famoso envelope…

A. M.: Ainda se lembra como foi?…

Card. B.: O envelope tinha quatro páginas guardadas nesse cofre, que estava fechado e cujas chaves as tinham o Prefeito, o Secretário e o Arquivista da Congregação. Três chaves à moda antiga para abrir o cofre onde estava guardado o envelope com a terceira parte do segredo. Nessa altura, eu era Secretário da Congregação para a Doutrina da Fé…

Continue reading

Fátima & Conflicting Dates

One of the stronger secondary arguments for the existence of a second text of the third part of the secret of Fátima concerns a conflict of dates. Cardinal Bertone and Joaquín Navarro-Valls gave two different dates in relation to when Pope St. John Paul II first read the text of the third part of the secret. Based upon this conflict, an argument has been made for the existence of a second text. I shall discuss this matter, in brevis, first by providing a general explanation, followed by a brisk examination of the facts with some questions and a general conclusion.

General Explanation

When John Paul II was in Fátima for the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto in May, 2000, it was publicly announced that the third part of the secret was going to be released. Around this time the director of the Vatican’s press office, Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, made some remarks. According to an article published by a Victor L. Simpson of the Associated Press (AP). Dr. Navarro-Valls is reported to have commented that John Paul first read the third part of the secret shortly after his election in October, 1978.

Forty-four days after the beatification, on June 26, 2000 was held the press conference that released the text of the third part in a booklet entitled The Message of Fatima. Present for the conference was Cardinal Ratzinger in his capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Also present were (then) Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone as the Secretary of the CDF and Dr. Navarro-Valls as the press office director. The conference can be broken down into two parts, the first being the delivering of prepared remarks by Ratzinger and Bertone. The second was a Q&A session with the assembled journalists.

During the Q&A, Luigi Accatoli of the Italian publication Corriere della Sera was the first to pose a question. Accatoli noted a remark from Bertone’s introduction in The Message of Fatima that John Paul read the text after the assassination attempt in May, 1981. Accatoli, based upon his question to Bertone, seemed to be under the impression that it might have been read earlier by the Pope. Bertone was very direct in his response, telling Accatoli that he was very sorry to have to tell him that his “presumption is not reliable news” (…presunzione non è notizia certa…).

At that point, Navarro-Valls interjected and asked Bertone to elaborate. Bertone specified that John Paul II read the text after the assassination attempt while he was in the Gemelli hospital. Bertone appears to have based his statement upon the records within the archives of the CDF. It seems as though procedural rules at the CDF require that records be kept; who requests a document, when they request it, and who delivers it are all documented. Finally, a record is made as to when the document is returned. Based upon these records, Bertone stated that it was 1981, not 1978 when John Paul II first read the third part of the secret.

The conflict between the two statements from Navarro-Valls in May, 2000 and then by Bertone forty-four days later is apparent. From this conflict, it has been deduced that the existence of a second text (that the Vatican does not want the public to see) would explain the contradiction. Because Bertone and Navarro-Valls offer conflicting dates, ought this fact be seen as evidence for the existence of a second text? Not necessarily.

Critiquing the Deduction

First, let us consider the fact that we do not possess the whole story. After some moderate research, I was able to find the article from Victor Simpson with the claim that Navarro-Valls gave the date of 1978. This article indicates that Navarro-Valls’ statement was pulled from a larger interview, about which more shall be said in the next paragraph. For now, we note that there is lacking in the public forum a video or at least a transcript of this interview. A partial video (without the remark in question) is available on YouTube from the AP featuring Navarro-Valls in Fátima, and another (not from the AP) is in French.

From these videos, apparently recorded on or around May 13, 2000, it appears that Navarro-Valls was making informal remarks to journalists. What facts he had prepared in advance are not clear. Without a prepared statement, it is easy to confuse facts or to misspeak. An example of the confusion resulting from ex tempore remarks can be found in Cardinal Ottaviani’s own 1967 Allocution on Fátima. Thus, while the matter of Navarro-Valls making the remark about the date of 1978 appears not to be in question, it would be very wise to verify the context of the remark.

By “context” is meant both the placement of the claim within the narrative as well as the nature of ex tempore remarks. Verifying these should be done prior to making the serious accusation that the Holy See has engaged in a cover-up. Has anyone who believes in the alleged cover-up ever performed this follow-up work? To date, this question remains open.

Secondly, has anyone who accuses the Vatican of a cover-up ever tried to contact Navarro-Valls and directly ask him about this matter? Never, in any of the readings that I have come across, have I heard that such attempts were made. From whence did Navarro-Valls receive his information? Did he talk with John Paul personally on this point? Perhaps Navarro-Valls was simply mistaken? The remark was made prior to the publication of The Message of Fatima. Did Navarro-Valls know about the 1981 date in May, 2000 or was he himself later corrected by the booklet’s publication?

Thirdly, it is further claimed that Navarro-Valls did not contradict the report on the date of 1978 being the first time that John Paul II read the text. This claim is questionable. As was noted above, the issue was raised during the Q&A session of the June, 2000 press conference. People have been quick to point out Bertone’s statement on the dates. They are, however, not as fast to point out its context—a context that could be interpreted as a correction of the public record.

Here is the scene of the press conference: the floor is opened up to the journalists and Accatoli is the first. He asks his question about the dates and Bertone responds. Something very noteworthy then occurs: Navarro-Valls interjects and asks Bertone to clarify! Bertone does so and gives the answer with the mention of the Pope’s time in the hospital in 1981. The next journalist (Andrea Tornielli) is then called upon and the subject changed.

Let us ask some questions. Would Navarro-Valls contradict, openly and in a public setting, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? Would not such an act do more to undercut the presentation of The Message of Fatima than if Navarro-Valls said nothing? Moreover, did Navarro-Valls truly do nothing? It is impossible to say such because of his interjection. If Navarro-Valls had been mistaken, was he tacitly corrected at the press conference? Or, conversely, had he read the booklet after May 13, realized his own mistake, and made his interjection as a way of discreetly correcting the public record and help him to save face?

General Conclusion

The argument, though secondary, of the conflicting dates of 1978/1981 does not of itself prove that there are two texts of the third part of the secret of Fátima. There are aspects of the story that are inconclusive. Until these aspects are better known, the open nature of the matter makes unreliable the conflict of dates as proof of a second text. Thus, to accuse the Holy See of a cover-up using this argument would be very unwise.

The preceding article is not an excerpt of my upcoming book
On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima

A Reflection on the Contemporary Situation

Hi Everyone!

Early last year I wrote an article entitled A Reflection on the Contemporary Situation. It was later published with the Latin Mass Magazine (Christmas, 2015 edition). I would like to offer here this article for people to consider. It was the fruit of a number of thoughts that I was having for several years. I finally came to organize my thoughts on paper and this article was the result.

I have not gone through the entire article and compared it with the printed version in LMM. If there are any variations, they should be minor, though I did amend the first two citations after noticing an error that I did not catch before in the editing process. I also changed some of the web site references to make them more suitable for an online format.


A Reflection on the Contemporary Situation
Kevin J. Symonds, M.A.

In contemporary Catholicism, there are many unique problems that might be addressed over time. The problems about which I speak are rooted in secularism and its devastation of faith with a concomitant focus upon a cult of utility and the pursuit of profane novelties. These oftentimes lead to a trivialization of evil and, ultimately, the denial of Jesus the Redeemer of mankind.[i]

There is an element of unknowing in supernatural faith as it is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This is difficult at times and not so clear to many. The temptation is to turn to superstition or novelties that offer a passing fancy or “cheap grace.” These novelties offer a seeming remedy to the ills of the times, but are ultimately unfulfilling, and, in not a few cases, are very dangerous to the life of grace in the soul.

For the past several centuries, “Christians have been tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, with new falsehoods arising every day.” Truly, these things have decimated many of our cherished morals, ethics, and traditions. Great cultural upheavals have resulted and are ongoing, leaving many people, Catholics included, becoming more disillusioned with society, religion and even their own lives.[ii]

Continue reading

Fátima Book Update-2

Hi Everyone! Ten or so days later and I have a new Fátima book update for you!

I have been busy editing and re-ordering some chapters. I also decided to gut the introduction and begin it anew. One of the worst parts now awaits me, writing the bibliography. There were six pages just from chapter one alone!

I also tweaked some of the appendix items (yes, there will be an appendix). Unless something substantial comes my way, I think I have about finalized what those items will be. One of them, to the best of my knowledge, has never before been rendered into English. It ought to be a good eye-opener.

More as it develops, so stay tuned!