Revisiting the Vision Webinar Paper

When the Holy See published the text of the third part of the Secret of Fátima in 2000, she offered two things: an historical explanation of the facts as well as an interpretation of the third part. For twenty-one years, the explanation and interpretation have stood as the “official” stance of the Church. As time passes, and more knowledge and information about Fátima becomes available, occasion has arisen for us to reconsider some aspects of the Church’s official stance. This essay shall examine some of the reasons for a fresh look.

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The Presentation of the Text

The Message of Fátima booklet (English)

On June 26, 2000, the Holy See introduced the third part of the Secret in a booklet entitled The Message of Fatima (hereafter TMF).[1] Accompanying the presentation was a televised press conference attended by the spokesman for the Holy See, Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone in his capacity as the secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and its then-prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

The conference was divided into two parts. The first part was comprised of interventions. After a brief introduction from Dr. Navarro-Valls, Archbishop Bertone spoke first, followed by Cardinal Ratzinger. These interventions were published only in Italian by the Holy See on its web site.[2] The second part of the press conference was comprised of a question and answer (Q&A) session between Bertone, Ratzinger, and the assembled journalists. There was, however, no transcription of the Q&A provided by the Holy See or a secondary party. I introduced a complete transcript, as well as an English translation, of the Q&A in May, 2017.[3]

In the long-term, public opinion was informed primarily by the contents of TMF. The booklet had been made available in print form as well as digital via the Holy See’s web site.[4] The information, however, from the Q&A session did not enjoy the same availability, making research on the entire presentation of the third part of the Secret very difficult.

Both parts to the press conference were essential to the presentation of the third part of the Secret to the Church and to the world. Together, they communicate the stance of the Holy See, as well as important clarifications. Let us now consider the reception of the explanation and interpretation presented by the Holy See. Owing to some notable developments within the Francophone and Anglophone worlds, I would like to limit my attention to these particular areas.

The Holy See’s Interpretation

The text of the third part of the Secret

After twenty-one years, the text of the third part of the Secret of Fátima is fairly well-known. The text was largely a description of a vision. The images in it included a “bishop dressed in white” who, along with other bishops, priests, men and women religious as well as many laypeople, were making their way towards a cross. Along the way, they were being martyred and angels were gathering their blood, sprinkling it upon those who were still making their way towards the cross. An angel with a flaming sword was present shouting out “penance, penance, penance!” and the Virgin Mary was holding back the sword with rays coming from her Immaculate Heart.[5]

The Holy See’s general interpretation is that the images largely pertained to the evils that the Church and the members of the faithful would suffer in the 20th century brought about by Communism.[6] The image of the “bishop dressed in white” is seen as a kind of composite of the popes throughout the entire 20th century, with a special emphasis upon the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II as the “culmination” of an entire century of evil.[7]

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Immaculate Heart is presented in terms of the Beatitude “blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8) and the coming to “perfect interior unity.”[8] The Blessed Virgin possessed this grace and so the devotion to the Immaculate Heart in the message of Fátima is to “embrace this attitude of heart.”[9] Those who embrace this attitude and are “purified by the contemplation of God” become “stronger than guns and weapons of every kind” as it reflects the salvific actions of Christ’s saving work on earth.[10]

The call to penance by the angel with the flaming sword is understood as the key words to the third part of the Secret. The purpose of this penance is to lead people to a greater practice of the theological virtues.[11] The angel himself is interpreted by the Holy See as representing judgment. The mountain and the city described in the vision symbolize the “arena of human history” and the cross atop the mountain as the “goal and guide of history” as well as turning “destruction into salvation.”[12] The individuals making their way towards the cross are understood to be martyrs whose sacrifice of their lives is “fruitful for the life of the Church.”

The interpretation of the Holy See for these images is fairly broad. TMF was published with an important caveat from Cardinal Ratzinger during the Q&A: the Holy See’s interpretation was not being imposed upon the Church as binding and that there is no “absolute historical identification” of the text’s images.[13] Therefore, people were free to disagree with the interpretation, presuming, of course, the normal activity of Christian charity.[14]

Interestingly, we must note that the vision was depicted, but not actually explained, by Sr. Lúcia. The Holy See acknowledged in TMF that Sr. Lúcia did not provide an interpretation of the vision.[15] Therefore, several supporting pieces of documentation were placed into TMF, including a Theological Commentary at the end from Cardinal Ratzinger. This documentation helps to orient the reader in some of the basic facts of Fátima and contextualizes the third part of the Secret, especially with respect to theology and history.

The documentation begins with an introduction by Archbishop Bertone. He provides some important data for consideration such as the horrors of the twentieth century, the circumstances surrounding the popes who read the third part, and a letter from Sr. Lúcia dated May 12, 1982. The three parts of the Secret follow this introduction. Then, in a section of TMF entitled “Interpretation of the ‘Secret,’” there is further supporting documentation pertaining more directly to the third part. Ratzinger’s Theological Commentary can be found at the very end of this section.

All said, I wish to make a technical distinction here. The supporting documentation factors into the Holy See’s interpretation, yet various pieces of information in the supporting documentation are more like “explanations.” For example, the historical circumstances under which Pope St. John XXIII read the text have no direct relevance to the meaning of the third part. They do, however, help us to understand the actions and decisions taken by the Holy Father with respect to the text.

On a final note, the reason why the Church waited to publish the text was stated during the Q&A. As there was no interpretation from Sr. Lúcia, the Church made a prudential judgment to withhold the text. Time and events had to pass in order to put a concrete historical face to the individual images and to make associations with those images.[16] In noting this prudential judgment, Ratzinger publicly acknowledged that a price was paid by the Church for such a long wait.[17]

The Reception of the Text and Stance of the Holy See

In the Francophone and Anglophone worlds, the Holy See’s stance had a notable impact upon two organizations: Le Contre-Reforme Catholique (CRC) in France and The Fatima Center (TFC) in North America. CRC was founded by the Abbé Georges de Nantes (†2010) and TFC by the Canadian cleric, Fr. Nicholas Gruner (†2015). Both organizations were associated with the Traditionalism movement that arose in the 1960s largely in response to the Second Vatican Council.[18] These two organizations collaborated from the mid-1980s until roughly the year 2000.[19]

Frère Michel’s three volume opus on Fátima (French)

By then, both had formed a very influential body of literature on Fátima within the Traditionalism movement.[20] Arguably, the most prominent work was the three-volume opus of Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité entitled Toute la vérité sur Fatima. A compelling story surrounded these literary products, full of mystery, ecclesiastical intrigue and, especially with TFC, numerous emotional appeals to people’s religious devotion and sentiments. Combined with their message of defending the Faith against errors, CRC and TFC were viewed positively by many Catholics.

Therefore, the publication of the third part of the Secret in June of 2000 was a highly anticipated event for CRC and TFC. However, it also caused a notable disagreement between the two organizations. TFC believed that there was another, explanatory text written by Sr. Lúcia withheld by the Holy See.[21] In contrast, CRC rejected the second text hypothesis, but differed with the Holy See’s interpretation.[22] CRC and TFC have subsequently published along these respective lines and no longer appear to be in collaboration with one another.

By the year 2000, TFC had established itself as the primary source of information about Fátima for Traditionalist Catholics within the Anglophone world. This standing only increased after the presentation of the third part of the Secret. TFC’s literature was widely disseminated. Discussions and debates continued along TFC’s interpretive lines, often accompanied with heavy polemics. These discussions received a notable boost in 2006 when the respected Italian journalist Antonio Socci published the book The Fourth Secret of Fatima (Il quarto segreto di Fatima).

Antonio Socci’s book

Socci had heard of the discussions within the Traditionalist literature on Fátima and decided to examine the matter. While offering some criticism, Socci ultimately concluded with TFC that there, in fact, was another text.[23] His prestige as a respected journalist made a significant contribution to the profile of the “two texts” hypothesis, which was now popularly referred to as the “fourth secret” of Fátima. For the next several years, there was an on-going and very heated debate. New information was being presented, statements were made and books were written.[24]

For our purposes, from the publication of the third part in June, 2000 to the present, some notable developments have taken place. First, there has been an exchange of ideas among writers and others on the subject of Fátima. Second, the death of some important people, such as John Paul II and Sr. Lúcia (2005), has made possible the acquisition of new information. Third, and following closely upon the second, significant documentation has appeared that sheds light on the third part of the Secret and which has been the catalyst for more studies.

Let us look at each of these three developments in turn.

The Exchange of Ideas

The Traditionalist Catholic movement has been examining and investigating the Holy See’s stance on the third part of the Secret of Fátima. The various writings, debates, arguments, etc. have forced people to look at the Holy See’s position and weigh it against various facts, be they historical, theological, etc. Within this context, there has been an exchange of ideas about Fátima, one with potential that is, as of yet, untapped to its fullest.

My book

From these discussions and debates, it is clear that some legitimate questions do arise. These questions must be addressed, yet many have gone unanswered. Antonio Socci was the first notable person outside of the Traditionalist movement to break a certain exclusivity or circularity that had formed around the discussions. His examination of the facts from an “outsider’s perspective” afforded these discussions some credibility within the larger Catholic world. In 2017, my own book On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima followed a similar path of breaking the exclusivity.

Socci and I’s respective examinations differed in various areas of dispute, though we agreed on others. A significant discovery of mine was an uncritical dependence within the Traditionalist literature in general upon the earlier-mentioned Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. Subsequent Traditionalist writers presumed his scholarship was accurate and did not check his sources. I reviewed his scholarship and noticed flaws in areas that have not a small bearing upon subsequent arguments and characterizations from later Traditionalist writers.[25]

First two pages of the Q&A transcript (Italian)

My research also uncovered a lack of availability of important documentation within the Anglophone world. The Q&A session from the June, 2000 press conference was among the most glaring lacunae. Once I was able to see, read and study these proceedings, some difficult matters came into focus. Various questions were answered while new ones arose. It seemed appropriate to provide a transcript of the Q&A as appendices to my book.

Up to the present, the free exchange of ideas has been very helpful to see deeper considerations to the third part of the Secret of Fátima. There is, however, a very real and two-fold problem in how to proceed with the information now possessed. First, there has been no real desire on the part of the Holy See both to engage and address these matters. Second, much of the Traditionalists’ manner of proceeding in these discussions has been, up to this point, characterized by insufficient or even defective scholarship. They have also engaged in heavy polemics against the Holy See.

The First See is judged by no one, according to the ancient maxim.[26] Thus, there is no need for the Holy See to defend itself against criticisms and characterizations it assesses to be unfounded and unjust. The Holy See must uphold its dignity, as is its right and duty, yet how to do this and also encourage the exchange of ideas on matters admitting of debate?

The Deaths of Influential People

In these intervening twenty-one years, many key people on the subject of Fátima have gone to their eternal rest. In 2005, both Sr. Lúcia and Pope John Paul II died. They were followed in 2010 by the Abbé de Nantes and Giuseppe De Carli, the interlocutor with Cardinal Bertone in the “fourth secret” discussion. Five years after that, Fr. Gruner died, followed by his associate John Vennari in 2017. Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, the papal spokesman, followed him three months later.

Bishop Serafim and I

Among the original primary personages, those who remain with us today are: Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Cardinal Bertone, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Bishop Serafim de Souza (Leiria-Fátima) and Christopher Ferrara. While these people are still living, there are opportunities to learn new information. They are—to varying degrees—close to the events in question, which, while presenting a challenging dynamic in some cases, may still prove helpful.

After the death of Fr. Gruner, his TFC organization split into two groups: The Fatima Center and Servants of Jesus and Mary.[27] The dividing issue appears to be over the legitimacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s abdication of the papacy in 2013 and Gruner’s own assessment upon it.[28] As regards the CRC, the French bishops recently issued a document declaring that there are dangerous elements within the theology of the Abbé de Nantes.[29] Such a notification casts a noticeable shadow over CRC’s interpretation of Fátima.

New Documentation

Meanwhile, the deaths of some of the “key” persons opened up new vistas. Obviously, those who have died are no longer able to support their respective positions. At the same time, opportunities arose for private documents held by these individuals to be catalogued, studied, and, in select cases, published.[30] The death of Sr. Lúcia was especially significant in this regard. Her published writings demonstrate that she disliked talking about her supernatural experiences and that she was quite circumspect with them.[31]

The Carmelites’ biography (2013)

What, then, would the tone be of her writings that were private or intended for her directors, superiors and confessors over the years? If such writings existed, they would very likely cast light upon her interior life, which is intimately connected to the message of Fátima. In 2013, some of this very documentation entered the public forum with the publication of the biography Um caminho sob o olhar de Maria (A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary).

Published by the Carmelite Sisters of the St. Teresa Convent in Coimbra, Portugal, this biography contained select portions of the unpublished manuscripts of Sr. Lúcia. It also recounts the memories of her community of Carmelites, including things that she had said and done over the years. The information contained within these pages sheds much light upon the life and activity of Sr. Lúcia. It also forever changed the discussions and debates over the third part of the Secret.

The biography revealed that there was indeed a meaning (significado) to the third part of the Secret. However, Sr. Lúcia had received a mandate from the Blessed Virgin not to reveal it.[32] Fr. Gruner’s fundamental position, therefore, that there was something more to the third part, proved to be accurate. The manner, though, in which he argued it remains in doubt.

Re-Assessing the Facts

Since the year 2000, some questions have arisen concerning the Holy See’s stance on the third part of the Secret. I would like to focus upon three areas as examples. The first is a remark from Sr. Lúcia about the date of 1960 during Bertone’s interview with her on April 27, 2000. The second example is Ratzinger’s understanding of another remark attributed to Sr. Lúcia concerning the interpretation of the third part of the Secret. The third example concerns the “bishop dressed in white.”

Bertone and the Date of 1960

The TMF booklet contains a two-page document that recounts Bertone’s April 27, 2000 meeting with Sr. Lúcia. In this account, Bertone asks Sr. Lúcia about the date of 1960 on the envelopes that contained the text of the third part. Here is the account:

As Sister Lucia, before giving the sealed envelope containing the third part of the “secret” to the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima [in 1944], wrote on the outer envelope that it could be opened only after 1960, either by the Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria, His Excellency Archbishop Bertone asked: “Why the deadline of 1960? Was it the Madonna who fixed that date?” Sister Lucia replied: “It was not the Lady, but it was I who put the date because according to my intuition, it would not be understood before 1960, only afterwards would it be understood. Now it can be better understood.[33]

Later, in May, 2007, Cardinal Bertone appeared on the Italian television program Porta a Porta (Door to Door). During the broadcast, Bertone displayed the envelopes from Sr. Lúcia with her handwritten text. She had very clearly written, “By the express order of Our Lady, this envelope can only be opened in 1960 by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon or the Bishop of Leiria.”[34] Six years later, the Carmelites biography published a handwritten account from Sr. Lúcia herself of the Blessed Virgin’s instructions. This account confirmed that it was indeed the “express order of Our Lady” that the envelope can only be opened in 1960 (que só pode ser aberto em 1960).[35]

First two pages of chapter 4 of my book

What did these developments say for Bertone’s earlier claim that Sr. Lúcia denied that it was the Virgin who gave that date? The contradiction was glaring, notably injurious, and unwittingly undermined Bertone’s claim, leading to further and very negative polemics.[36] I examined the available facts and offered an hypothesis in chapter four of my book that might reconcile the two positions.[37] I argued that as Sr. Lúcia was known to be “truthful, yet evasive” about her supernatural experiences, we should think about this fact in the light of Bertone’s claim.

Ratzinger and the Interpretation of the Third Part of the Secret

TMF claimed that Sr. Lúcia had stated, “I wrote that which I had seen, the interpretation is not up to me, but to the Pope.”[38] In his Theological Commentary, Cardinal Ratzinger, clearly basing himself upon Bertone’s report of the meeting, remarked that Sr. Lúcia “had been given the vision, but not its interpretation. The interpretation, she said, is not up to the visionary, but to the Church.”[39] However, the Carmelites’ biography has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that there was an interpretation given to Sr. Lúcia. Moreover, a careful look at Bertone’s account of Sr. Lúcia’s comment demonstrates that she did not state that there was no interpretation given to her.

Let us look again at Sr. Lúcia’s words as reported by Bertone: “I wrote that which I had seen, the interpretation is not up to me, but to the Pope.” In these words, we see a very fine nuance. She said that it wasn’t up to her to give an interpretation and that such was the Holy Father’s prerogative. That’s not the same as saying “I was not given the vision’s interpretation.” Sr. Lúcia rather neatly side-stepped the matter of receiving an interpretation.

On its face, Sr. Lúcia’s words come across as emanating from humility, specifically the knowledge of a professed religious’ place in relation to the authority of the Church. The revelation, however, that Sr. Lúcia received a mandate from the Virgin herself not to reveal the meaning renders us able to see past her nuanced words. It seems as though she wanted to protect the fact of the interpretation’s existence, arguably so as to fulfill the Virgin’s mandate.

We conclude, therefore, that there is nothing direct in Sr. Lúcia’s April 27, 2000 statement as to the precise matter of her receiving an interpretation. Instead, there are a few questions on this front that should be posed to scholars and researchers:

  1. Did Sr. Lúcia later receive permission to write down the interpretation? If so, when?
  2. Is the meaning to be considered as a second half of the third part of the Secret or is it separate from the third part and not the Secret?
  3. Why would the Blessed Virgin desire the Church not to know the meaning?

The first question admits of some debate, especially in the light of Sr. Lúcia’s May 12, 1982 letter to Pope John Paul II.[40] In it, she gives at the very least what is a general explanation of the meaning of the third part. Whether or not this explanation is the meaning given to her is a matter for scholarly debate. Certainly, it emanates from that meaning, but does not necessarily exhaust it or give it with exacting detail in accordance with the meaning afforded her.

We can also say that Sr. Lúcia’s 1982 letter casts doubt that she had written down an explicit explanation for the Church between 1944 and 1982. If such a text existed and the Holy See possessed it, why did Sr. Lúcia not simply say “see my letter of [date] for the explanation?” Presently, she wrote to the Holy Father and remarked that he was “so anxious to know” the meaning. Why would he be “so anxious” if he was already in possession of a text that explained everything?

The second question is deeply rooted in scholarly precision about how we understand the third part of the Secret of Fátima and its structure. The third question expresses a general skepticism: “why would the Blessed Virgin come down from heaven and give a message that no one was supposed to know except the visionary?” It is a good question, one that scholars and theologians should address, although it goes beyond the scope of this essay.

The Bishop Dressed in White

The final consideration I would like to propose concerns the image of the “bishop dressed in white” and the Holy See’s interpretation. This consideration, however, differs from its two predecessors in that it does not question the Vatican’s interpretation. Rather, evidence will be presented that calls for the general public to re-assess its understanding of the Vatican’s interpretation.

One of the pieces of information that arises from our new ability to study the Q&A session concerns how the Holy See presented the image of the “bishop dressed in white” being shot and killed. We saw earlier that the Holy See understood this image as representing an entire century of popes, with a special emphasis upon the assassination attempt on John Paul II. This characterization, however, was not always clear from the news reports that had been available up to 2017.

TMF affirms that the principal person in the image is the Holy Father.[41] The Q&A from June 26, 2000 further developed the interpretation. Cardinal Ratzinger told the journalists that while the Holy See saw the attack on John Paul’s life in 1981 as being in connection to the third part, he did not say that attack fulfilled the vision. Rather, Ratzinger spoke in terms of an entire century of evil being predicted in the vision and that the attack on the Holy Father was the culmination of that evil.[42] Cardinal Sodano had also said as much on May 13, 2000 in his summary of the vision.[43]

Alessandra Stanley Article Headline

This larger, more contextual explanation stands in contrast to how some journalists reported on the event. For example, Alessandra Stanley, writing for The New York Times on May 13, 2000, wrote that the Vatican “described the secret as a vision of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.”[44] Eight days later, she affirmed this description in another article.[45] Later, on June 27, Stanley again focused upon the imagery of the Holy Father being shot, but says nothing about the larger—and nuanced—explanation.[46] BBC News reported that the text “related to the failed 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II.”[47] CNN reported that the text “predicted [John Paul II’s] assassination attempt.”[48] It had likewise focused on this aspect in its report from May, 2000.[49]

Among the journalists who reported more of Ratzinger’s contextual remarks was Richard Boudreaux.[50]  He wrote an article entitled Catholic Church Unveils ‘Third Secret of Fatima’ for The Los Angeles Times.[51] Concerning the image of the “bishop dressed in white,” Boudreaux reported, “Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did not endorse a papal spokesman’s claim that the felled ‘Bishop dressed in White’ was John Paul or the pope’s long-stated belief that Mary had deflected the bullets meant to kill him.”

Boudreaux was technically correct as the transcript from the Q&A now reveals. Unfortunately, Boudreaux’s article approaches the subject from a very secular and even condescending perspective. Early on, he wrongly characterized Ratzinger’s statements as having “gently debunked the Fatima cult.” It set a very negative tone that continued throughout the article and would be off-putting to many Catholics, thus making them inclined to dismiss this article. Gruner and his TFC organization, however, did take advantage of the “gently debunked” remark in their polemics.[52]

To various degrees then, we see that there was some disproportion in the above sampling of reporting on the events from May-June, 2000. The larger contextual explanation as laid out by Cardinals Sodano and Ratzinger was largely omitted from the reporting in favor of the more “sensational” aspect of the “bishop dressed in white” being shot. Why this was done is a matter of debate, but it seems worthwhile to consider that a pope being shot was, arguably, the imagery that would resonate the most to the average person after the events of May 13, 1981.

In the end, opportunity to mistake the prophecy and the Vatican’s understanding of it was present. In my own experience, I have come across many people who understand the third part of the Secret solely in terms of the pope being shot. This tendency is dangerous, not only because it misrepresents the Holy See’s interpretation, but also because it is an incomplete understanding of the third part of the Secret. Under these circumstances, questions are then raised about people’s ability to develop an authentic and deeper comprehension of the third part.

Revisiting the Vision: Final Thoughts

In his presentation of the third part of the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger stated that time had to pass in order for the Church to be able to decipher the text. The twenty-one years that have subsequently passed since he made this observation have permitted an even deeper reflection upon the third part of the Secret. Debates, the deaths of notable persons and new documentation have been the driving force of this deeper reflection.

There is much information for us to consider, and the Church permits such discussions to take place under the norm of pursuing the truth and of Christian charity. Where this norm is not held, Christ is not to be found, and the Church typically pays no attention to such instances. There is wisdom in this approach, but also a risk. That risk in this case is the loss of the trust and confidence of the faithful who take Fátima very seriously and rightfully expect the Church to provide pastoral support. It is time, then, for the Church to revisit her position on the third part of the Secret of Fátima in the light of the many new developments.


Notes:

[1] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Il messaggio di Fatima (Città del Vaticana: Editrice Libreria Vaticana, 2000).

[2] Conferenza Stampa di Presentazione del Documento “Il Messaggio di Fatima” (June 26, 2000), Bolletino number B0407.

[3] Kevin J. Symonds, On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima (St. Louis, Missouri: En Route Books and Media, 2017), 364-410.

[4] The Message of Fatima (online edition).

[5] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 21.

[6] Ibid., 28-32, 38-43.

[7] Ibid., 28-31, 40-42.

[8] Ibid., 39.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 43.

[11] Ibid., 39-40.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Symonds, 372, 378.

[14] Cf. St. Augustine Letters 147: 49; 148:4-5, 15 in Roland Teske, S.J. (edit.), The Works of St. Augustine: Letters 100-155 II/2 (Hyde Park, New York: New City Press, 2003), 345, 352-353, 358.

[15] Cf. Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 39.

[16] Symonds, 378-381, 377-378.

[17] Ibid., 387.

[18] For a broad understanding of this movement as it pertained to North America, see Michael W. Cuneo, The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 21ff. The general raison d’etre of this movement was to defend the faith of the Church by denouncing various errors that arose during and after the Second Vatican Council. It is not a homogeneous movement and different groups lay claim to the title of “traditionalism.”

[19] Cf. Symonds, 42.

[20] CRC published the text in French and TFC published an English translation.

[21] Cf. issue 64 of The Fatima Crusader. Within this issue appeared several articles that proposed the hypothesis of a second text with explanatory words of the Virgin. Three of the articles are interviews with Fr. Gruner: “The 3rd Secret Release Raises More Questions,” “The 3rd Secret Vision Explained” and “The Other Manuscript: What To Do About It!” Two other articles appeared: “Third Secret Revealed. But Not All of It!” (Fr. Paul Kramer) and “Are There Two Original Manuscripts on the Third Secret?” (Andrew M. Cesanek). The general ideas presented here and elsewhere were later collected and organized into book format under Fr. Paul Kramer’s name (directed by Gruner) under the title The Devil’s Final Battle (Terryville, Connecticut: Good Counsel Publications, 2002). For some remarks on the origins of this book see Fr. Paul Kramer, To Deceive the Elect (Fort Collins, Colorado: Gondolin Institute, LLC, 2019), 53.

[22] Cf. Le Contre-Reforme Catholique, “Le Troisième Secret de Fatima: La purification et résurrection de l’Église indivise.” This article is composed of extracts taken from Frère François de Marie des Anges’ book Jean-Paul Ier, le pape du Secret (Sainte Parres lès Vaudes, 2003) and CRC’s own journal (numbers 368-370).

[23] Antonio Socci, Il quarto segreto di Fatima 2° (Milano: BUR Saggi, 2010), 12-14; 103-104.

[24] Cf. Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, L’ultima veggente di Fatima (Milano: Rai Eri Rizzoli, 2007); Christopher Ferrara, The Secret Still Hidden (Pound Ridge, New York: Good Counsel Publications, 2008).

[25] For some examples, see chapters 2, 6, 8 and 9 of my book On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima.

[26] Cf. canon 1404 of the 1983 Codex Iuris Canonici.

[27] The Servants of Jesus and Mary organization initiated its own web site.

[28] Cf. Servants of Jesus and Mary Newsletter, Issue 38 (November 2020), page 1.

[29] La Commission doctrinale de la Conférence des évêques de France, Avertissement concernant la doctrine de la Contre-Réforme catholique (June 25, 2020).

[30] Cf. José João Loureiro, “A Mala Zero” in Carmelo de Coimbra, Lúcia: Boletim da Serva de Deus, No 36, Ano 13 (Maio 2021): 10.

[31] Cf. Symonds, 103-119.

[32] Carmelo de Santa Teresa – Coimbra, Um caminho sob o olhar de Maria: Biografia da Irmã Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado, O.C.D. (Coimbra, Portugal: Edições Carmelo, 2013), 266.

[33] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 29. Translation by Kevin J. Symonds.

[34] “Por ordem expreça [sic, “expressa”] de Nossa Senhora, este envelope só pode ser aberto em 1960, por sua Em.cia o Senhor Cardial [sic, “Cardeal”] Patriarca de Lisboa ou por sua Ex.cia Rev.ma o Senhor Bispo de Leiria.”

[35] Carmelo de Santa Teresa – Coimbra, 266.

[36] Cf. Ferrara’s The Secret Still Hidden, 113-154.

[37] Symonds, 103-119. See also my article “The Circumspection of Sr. Lúcia.”

[38] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 29 (“Io ho scritto ciò che ho visto, non spetta a me l’interpretazione, ma al Papa”). Translation by Kevin J. Symonds.

[39] Ibid., 39. “Suor Lucia al riguardo ha innanzitutto osservato che ad essa era stata data la visione, ma non la sua interpretazione. L’interpretazione, diceva, non compete al veggente, ma alla Chiesa.” Translation by Kevin J. Symonds.

[40] Carmelo de Santa Teresa – Coimbra, 203-204; Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 8-9.

[41] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 28.

[42] Symonds, 378-382, 397-398.

[43] Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 30.

[44] Alessandra Stanley, “Vatican Discloses the ‘Third Secret’ of Fatima.” The New York Times (Section 1, page 1).

[45] Alessandra Stanley, “Ideas & Trends: Revelations; The Third Secret Raises More Questions.” The New York Times (Section 4, page 5).

[46] Alessandra Stanley, “Vatican Issues Text of Third Secret of Fatima.” The New York Times (Section A, page 10).

[47] BBC News, “Fatima’s ‘Third Secret’ Revealed.”

[48] CNN, “Vatican Releases Text of Once-Secret Prophecy” (June 26, 2000).

[49] CNN, “Vatican Ends Mystery of the Third Prophecy of Fatima” (May 13, 2000).

[50] Bill Broadway and Sarah Delaney also issued a passing remark about the larger context in their article “3rd Secret Spurs More QuestionsThe Washington Post (July 1, 2000). They wrote, “[Ratzinger] suggested that the deaths in the vision reflect the ‘synthesis’ of the suffering of 20th-century popes and martyrs rather than one incident.”

[51] Richard Boudreaux, “Catholic Church Unveils ‘Third Secret of Fatima’.” The Los Angeles Times (June 27, 2000).

[52] Cf. Fr. Paul Kramer (edit.), The Devil’s Final Battle: Our Lady’s Victory Edition (Terryville, Connecticut: Good Counsel Publications, 2010), xii, 89, 98, 110, 124, 215, 221, 227.

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