Responding to Taylor Marshall-3

Hello Everyone! Part III of my video series in response to Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon is now available on my YouTube channel.

In this video, I go into the specifics of the introductory discussion between Marshall and Gordon on Fátima .

Transcript is below. Stay tuned for Part IV!


The first twelve minutes or so of Marshall & Gordon’s podcast was primarily a discussion of Pope Leo XIII and the prayer to St. Michael that the Pope had composed in the mid-1880s. Having established a somewhat sensationalistic foundation that, as we saw previously, was full of holes, Marshall turns the focus of the podcast with Gordon to the topic of Fátima.

(12:00) Marshall begins the Fátima discussion with an observation. He observes that Our Lady doesn’t often come down from heaven to give a message. Therefore, he concludes, we should not dismiss what she says in her message. In his own words: [show clip]

True, one ought not to dismiss lightly an obvious manifestation of the supernatural. We have to ask, though: are we going to be talking about Fátima or a questionable interpretation of Fátima from Marshall and Gordon? If it is their interpretation of Fátima, is it authentic? As we shall see, there are many doubts on this last question.

(13:05 – 15:25) Gordon talks about the historical feasibility of Fátima. There is no need for comment here.

(15:25 – ) Gordon’s discourse here takes an interesting turn. He references the controversial matter of the “fourth secret of Fátima” hypothesis. This hypothesis holds that there is a second text to the third part of the secret of Fátima and that the Vatican is allegedly hiding it. We shall examine this matter more in the next video. For now, Gordon offers his take, saying: [show clip]

In other words, Gordon is telling the audience that people “go to blows” over this hypothesis, yet he says it is “silly” to fight. He explains that arguing over the hidden content is silly because other apparitions of Our Lady have already given us this content. [show clip]

There is not much to say here on this point except to note that stringing together various apparitions is a very tricky business. Gordon will revisit this topic later in the podcast, thus further comment is reserved until that time.

Around 16:40, Gordon asks why it is that Church officials like Cardinal Bertone and Cardinal Sodano are so committed to the “narrative” that there is nothing else to the third part of the secret of Fátima despite circumstantial evidence. [show clip]

At the time when this podcast was made, Archbishop Viganó (who Gordon references) had issued a controversial testimony concerning sex abuse in the Church. In this document, Viganó identified Cardinals Bertone and Sodano as being involved in the cover-ups. With this fact in the background, Gordon here takes advantage of Viganó’s testimony in order to question the reliability of Bertone & Sodano on Fátima.

Such a negative image in the media from Viganó makes it suicidal for someone to give even the appearance of defending Bertone & Sodano. Therefore, let us make a crucial distinction.

There is Fátima and/or its history and then there are the actions (actual or alleged) of Cardinals Bertone & Sodano on sex abuse cover ups. My objective here is not to defend Bertone & Sodano against Viganó’s statements. My objective is to discuss Fátima, its history and theology. Insofar as Bertone & Sodano are a part of Fátima’s history, we shall discuss where the facts of Fátima’s history support or do not support Bertone & Sodano either in history or theology.[1] Finally, I have performed an examination of the facts and agree with Bertone & Sodano on some of their interpretations. I respectfully question some others.

17:00 – Gordon continues to develop his point about connecting other apparitions of Our Lady with Fátima. At this point, he references the alleged apparitions of Our Lady in Ákita, Japan. Gordon references the claim that Cardinal Ratzinger said the alleged apparitions of Ákita with the message of Fátima are the same. [show clip]

What exactly is Gordon talking about?

Allegedly, Cardinal Ratzinger many years ago made a statement to an ambassador named Howard Dee that connected Fátima and Ákita. Again, allegedly, Ratzinger was reported to have said to Dee that the two messages are essentially the same. Dee relayed the alleged remark in a talk in 1998. The claim was picked up by not a few individuals or organizations with specific interests in private revelation. It has been re-published countless times in different venues. The remark has since become a fixture in many circles of people on Fátima and the third part of the secret.

Now, for his part, Gordon prefaces his discussion of Ratzinger on Ákita and Fátima with the word “allegedly.” This preface was good because Dee’s claim is unproven and, in fact, challenged by the Holy See. Unfortunately, Gordon appears to drop his scholarly reserve and uncritically takes the alleged remark as Gospel truth during the rest of his discourse.

For my part, as a Catholic, I respect Dee’s position as a former ambassador and have no desire whatsoever to question his character. As a researcher, though, I cannot blindly accept his claim. I offer the following five reasons for my reservations:

  1. Independent evidence seems to be non-existent. Is there an audio/video recording? Were there other witnesses? Have they verified or denied the claim? Has Ratzinger verified it?
  2. We depend entirely upon Dee’s word and interpretation. Has Dee accurately recalled the alleged remark? What, if any, context might Ratzinger have afforded the remark? If there was some context, was this context given by Dee? If not given, why did he omit it?
  3. The then Bishop of Ákita , John Ito, never approved the alleged messages. He only approved some phenomena with a statue. In July, 2000, it was revealed that Ito himself sent a fax to Michael Brown of Spirit Daily and verified this distinction.[2]
  4. The Holy See has challenged the claim. In April, 1990, the Nuncio to Japan denied that Ratzinger approved Ákita. In 1999, it was clarified that the Holy See never gave “any kind of approval to either the events or messages of Ákita.”
  5. The Church is governed by public documents and declarations by lawful ecclesiastical officials. A private comment—even if true—does not govern the Church in matters of private revelation.

Let me clear on something. Despite the stern appearance my reservations give, I am quite open to the possibility that Dee’s claim is true. I would, however, like to see it qualified. The reason for this desire is because in my studies on Fátima and Ratzinger, I have found the saying to be quite helpful that context determines meaning.

Ratzinger is a very careful theologian and his remarks are often loaded with a depth that takes time to understand and assess. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many people have not read him in this light and I pointed to one such example in my book On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima. Here, I examined Ratzinger’s discussion of the novissimi in relation to Fátima during his famous interview with Vittorio Messori in the mid-1980s.

One of Ratzinger’s particular theological interests is Eschatology. I think it is an utmost imperative to understand his eschatology before remarking upon his understanding of private revelation, and Fátima in particular. Thus, if I presume for a moment that Ratzinger truly connected Ákita and Fátima, I would not take Dee’s characterization at face value. I would read Dee in the light of Ratzinger’s understanding of eschatology.

Let us continue to the rest of the podcast.

(17:10 – 19:35)  After referencing Ákita, Gordon then discusses the apparitions of Our Lady in Quito, Ecuador from the late 16th to the early 17th centuries. He does so in continuation of his claim that we already know the content of the third part of the secret of Fátima (at least indirectly) through other apparitions. Here is what Gordon stated: [show clip]

The Quito apparitions are known as “Our Lady of Good Success” (Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso) and were to a Spanish nun named Madre Mariana de Jesus Torres y Berriochoa. Gordon, citing unnamed people, characterized in the preceding clip these particular apparitions of Our Lady as her “insurance policy.” He does so because in specific apparitions of Our Lady to Madre Mariana, there were some very astounding prophecies made concerning the 19th and 20th centuries. The prophecies largely surround a terrible degradation of the clergy, a tremendous loss of Faith and much corruption in the world and the Church.

For our part, it is not necessary to go into all of the details. There is simply not enough time for this response to go into depth with the Quito apparitions. Instead, I encourage people to read the story of Quito for itself. Books are available in Spanish as well as English. What is necessary for us is to know that Gordon connects Quito with Fátima because it is his belief that Quito offers us a window to interpret the third part of the secret of Fátima.

It is important to point out here that it is possible to make some connections between Quito and Fátima. The problem with making such connections is that we are largely dealing with a matter of interpretation and interpretation requires established facts. As we have thus far seen, Marshall and Gordon are a bit wanting in this regard.

The aforementioned prophecies regarding the 19th and 20th centuries are, as I have said, quite astounding. Taken separately from the life of virtue that is the obvious focus of the Vida Admirable, these stories become sensational and out of context. One thing that I have noticed in the discussions on connecting Quito with Fátima is that people are so focused on proving this connection that they forget the rest of their argument. Let me explain.

The prophecies of Our Lady to Mother Mariana pertained to the 19th and 20th centuries. Yet, some of the proponents of the “fourth secret of Fátima” hypothesis also believe that the third part of the secret pertains to events currently happening in the 21st century. Now, if Quito is Our Lady’s “insurance policy,” as Gordon alleges, does that mean he disagrees with the “current events” interpretation of some “fourth secret” proponents?

Let us end with that question hanging in the balance. In the next video, we shall respond to the deepening discussion between Marshall and Gordon on the “fourth secret of Fátima” hypothesis. Thank you, and we’ll see you next video.

[1] Some of my thoughts on Bertone & Sodano about Fátima are in my published writings, a couple of examples of which are provided here.

[2] If that distinction was no longer true in 2000, why wasn’t this fact brought up in the WND article herein provided? Also, I have asked Michael Brown about the fax. He has clarified that he was not interviewed by WND and that the material seems to have been taken from his book The Day Will Come.