Responding to Taylor Marshall-4

Hello Everyone! Part IV of my series responding to Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon is now available on my YouTube channel.

In this video, I critique Marshall and Gordon’s discussion of the so-called “fourth secret of Fátima” hypothesis.

Transcript is below. Stay tuned for Part V!


In this section of the Marshall/Gordon podcast, Marshall invites Gordon to talk about the “fourth secret of Fátima” hypothesis. We examine the various claims that arise from their discourse.

(19:35 – 20:55) The “fourth secret” hypothesis began in the year 2000. It alleges that there was a second text of the third part of the secret of Fátima. The hypothesis has changed since 2000 in accordance with various information that has manifested since that time. The essential point remains the same: that there is a second text written by Sr. Lúcia that gives words of Our Lady that interprets the vision.

Marshall does not like the term “fourth secret of Fátima.” He prefers to call it “3A” and “3B” with 3A being the text published in June, 2000 and 3B being the “suppressed” text. In his own words: [show clip]

Marshall bases his preference upon the fact that in the first part of the secret, there is a vision (“1A”) that is followed by words of Our Lady (“1B”) that explain the vision. He carries over this interpretation to the third part of the secret, alleging that there has to be a similar pattern of “vision” and accompanying “explanation.” He said: [show clip]

After explaining his position, Marshall sets the stage for Gordon to speak about witnesses who testified to the existence of an explanation from Our Lady.

(20:55 – 22:57) Gordon begins his discussion by affirming Marshall’s characterization of there being graphic (“A”) and then auditory (“B”) components to each of the three parts of the secret. Here is what he stated: [show clip]

Unfortunately, their characterization of the secret of Fátima is flawed.

True: Our Lady first showed the children hell (so-called “1A”) and then explained it (so-called “1B”). The second part of the secret, however, is comprised entirely of words. Thus, there is no actual “visual illustration,” so to speak, that one can call “2A,” as Marshall and Gordon call it. There is only what Marshall and Gordon would call “2B.” Therefore, they have provided a structurally-flawed characterization of the secret of Fátima.

(22:57) Next, Gordon cites in defense of his position the Third and Fourth Memoirs of Sr. Lúcia. Here is what he said: [show clip]

Now, this claim is not at the heart of what Gordon wishes to claim in his overall discussion, but it is necessary to pause for a moment and respond to Gordon. He claims that St. Francisco was in sin at the time of Our Lady’s appearances and that is the reason why he could only see, not hear, Our Lady during the apparitions in 1917. This claim is quite questionable. Sr. Lúcia herself interpreted the order as being “for all of us” (Calls, 126, see also Como vejo a Mensagem, 32). It is not necessarily that he was in sin, thus Gordon’s claim here is purely speculative (if not offensive).

Returning to Gordon’s narrative, he raises the matter of who could see or hear Our Lady in order to interpret a statement from Our Lady. [show clip]

In July, 1917, Our Lady told Lúcia, “Do not tell this to anyone. Yes, you may tell Francisco.” Gordon mischaracterizes exactly what took place.

Gordon claims that Lúcia herself “had to ask Our Lady whether or not she could share the secret, and with particular regard the third part of the secret with the words of the Virgin, with Francisco because Francisco could not hear because he was in a state of maybe mortal sin” (24:00 – 24:30). Simply put, Gordon has mischaracterized and embellished what took place.

Gordon’s first mistake is to claim that Lúcia asked Our Lady if she could share the secret with Francisco. As recorded by Sr. Lúcia in the Fourth Memoir, she never put this question to Our Lady. Moving along, Our Lady had said, “Do not tell this to anyone….” The pronoun “this” referred to the entirety of the secret, which Gordon seems to indirectly acknowledge. Regretfully, he then lapsed back into error with his statement “and with particular regard…etc.” If there is any doubt as to what Gordon intended here, he directly stated later “[Sr. Lúcia] literally had to ask Our Lady, ‘can I share with him your words about the third secret?’ That is what we call a ‘slam dunk’” (25:18 — 25:27).

Therefore, in order to defend the “3A/3B” hypothesis, Gordon put words into Lúcia’s mouth. There can be no proof to be found here in this argument for the existence of “3B.”

(25:27 – 26:53) Next, Gordon cites the story of the Austrian Jesuit Fr. Joseph Schweigl as further evidence for “3B.” [show clip]

Fr. Schweigl was sent to Coimbra, Portugal, in 1952 to talk with Sr. Lúcia. When he thereafter arrived back in Rome, he is said to have remarked to a confrère named Fr. Kozina that he was not permitted to reveal what he learned. He could only say that there were two halves of the third part of the secret. The first pertained to the Pope and the second was the continuation of the words “In Portugal the Dogma of the Faith shall always be preserved etc.”

Those words about Portugal and the dogma of the Faith were the last words from Our Lady directly pertaining to the secret of Fátima that Sr. Lúcia recorded in the Fourth Memoir. There has been much debate over the years about these words. I encourage people to read chapter 9 of my book On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima for an extensive examination of the matter.

For our purposes, Gordon appears to believe that the words are the beginning of the third part of the secret. This question pertains to the structure of the secret, and, is a highly contested matter. Please see chapter 9 of my book for more information.

Now, concerning Fr. Schweigl and Fátima, there is not much by way of scholarly criticism yet available to the public. It appears as though he died in 1964, leaving behind only one public book on Fátima (in Italian and German) that was on the consecration of Russia. I happen to own a copy of the German text. It is claimed by a French writer named Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité that Schweigl distributed a private document to the Council Fathers of Vatican II in 1963, but this document is not available to the public. At best guess, it is available in an archive in Rome, or possibly in France with Frère Michel’s former organization Le Contre-Reforme Catholique. Frère Michel wrote further that Schweigl stated that Sr. Lúcia’s replies to his questions can be published with authorization from the Holy See.

That said, for our purposes here, on a scholarly level, the matter of Fr. Schweigl is open for study based upon further information. The statement attributed to him was private, made to Fr. Kozina, who then wrote thirty years later a letter to Frère Michel about the matter in question. We only know about the remark through Frère Michel. The letter was not reproduced in its entirety and Frère Michel—now known as Dom François-Marie Velut in the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France—no longer speaks publicly about Fátima.

For these reasons at least, I am personally cautious about attributing too much weight to the Schweigl story. The evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions. I will say that the matter is quite intriguing and worthy of further study. The Holy See would have to grant permission to one or more credentialed scholars to have access to Schweigl’s texts.

(26:54 – 28:04) Following closely upon the heels of the Fr. Schweigl story, Gordon then makes another claim in support of the “3A/3B” hypothesis. He claims that there were two letters sent to Rome from the Cardinal Primate of Portugal about the third part of the secret. [show clip]

Gordon is here mistaken. There was only one document sent to Rome in 1957 pertaining to the third part of the secret. An order had been given by Rome to the Diocese of Leiria, Portugal, for copies to be sent to Rome of all documents from Sr. Lúcia. The third part of the secret, however, was still sealed, and the Bishop decided to send the original—not a copy—to Rome. His auxiliary Bishop, João Venâncio, was entrusted with the task. He brought the document to the Nunciature in Lisbon in March, 1957 and it was received by the Vatican in April, 1957.

The problem was that two dates exist for the reception of the document and some proponents of the two-texts hypothesis took this to mean two documents. The entire hypothesis, however, is based upon an unsourced statement from the former archivist of Fátima, Fr. Joaquín María Alonso.[1] That fact is the very definition of what it means to build a house on sand!

Moving along, Gordon connects the two-texts hypothesis with John Paul II: [show clip]

It is true that there is a discrepancy in the timeline as to when Pope John Paul II read the third part of the secret. The former Vatican spokesman, Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, claimed in May, 2000 that the Holy Father read it shortly after his election in 1978. In June, 2000, the Holy See wrote that the Pope first read it in 1981. This discrepancy was not lost upon the proponents of the two-texts hypothesis who seized upon it as evidence for their position.

(28:05 – 29:41) à After discussing all of these things, Gordon then references some remarks attributed to then Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, about Fátima in the early 1930s. Here is what Gordon says [show clip]:

Gordon interprets Pacelli’s words to mean the third part of the secret. If this understanding is correct, then Gordon is wrong. The overall secret of Fátima, much less its third part, had not yet been revealed in the early 1930s. That revelation came on August 31, 1941 with the composition of the Third Memoir by Sr. Lúcia. Moreover, the third part was still not communicated until January 3, 1944 and opened in August, 1959. Thus, if Pacelli made this statement in the early 1930s about being worried on the messages to Lúcia, he could not have known the content of the secret.

Astoundingly, Gordon then admits that he has no idea how Pacelli could have known all this: [show clip][2]

Gordon has backed himself into a corner. He wants to connect the alleged statement from Pacelli with the third part of the secret. The historical record, however, tells us that it was impossible for Pacelli to have known it. There is an obvious disconnect here, one that Gordon tries to overcome by claiming a “preternatural connection.” As a believing Catholic, I cannot deny that it is possible for God to have intervened and said something to Pacelli. The proof, however, of such a miraculous intervention is not established.

(29:41 – 30:09) After providing a quick run-down of his previous points, Gordon then returns to the claim of there being two envelopes in the year 1957. He elaborates upon the specific actions of Bishop Venâncio. [show clip]

First, he mistakenly identifies Venâncio as the Bishop of Leiria in early 1957. Venâncio was the auxiliary Bishop of Leiria. Secondly, Gordon erroneously claims that Venâncio “counted 24 lines” of text from Sr. Lúcia that comprised the third part of the secret. This claim is absolutely false as Venâncio never stated the number of the lines of text. I myself have held in my own hands and studied the only-known document left by Venâncio in the archives of Fátima on this matter.

Gordon then continues on to question the text released in the year 2000, saying that the text was four pages, not the shorter 24 lines as was expected. Gordon says the published text from 2000 was on 4 pages. It was actually 1 page, divided into four squares or sections. He also mistakenly attributes the publication to May, not June, 2000, of these pages.

Gordon ends by saying that he is “not a crackpot,” that he is “not wearing a tin-foil hat,” and that the “facts” he presented thus far are “incontrovertible.” [show clip + Oprah GIF]

In the next video, we shall continue to examine the deepening discussion on the two-text hypothesis for the third part of the secret of Fátima.

[1] I have published an article as well as discussed it in my book. Also, if there were two documents, why were they sent separately and not together?

[2] “So, Pius XII always had this ‘preternatural connection’ to the third secret. I don’t know where…he wouldn’t have read it before he was Pope, so I don’t know where he got, I don’t know what words he was reading when he said this back in the middle-1930s…” (29:16 – 29:32).