Lest some readers get reactionary and lump this article in the “kooks and nuts file,” it is important to state from the beginning that in the mind of this author there is no doubt and never has been that the Vatican released the whole and complete Third Secret of Fatima as received by Lucia dos Santos, the sole surviving visionary from the 1917 apparition.
However, this author believes contemporary underestimation of the messages’ continued relevance poses a threat to the health of the Catholic Church, is a detriment to world peace, and is neglecting the salvation of souls.
In an effort to prevent hysteria and quench the flames of apocalyptic movements or thought, the Sacred Congregation rightly claimed Our Lady’s requests for consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart were fulfilled in Pope John Paul II’s March 25, 1984 Consecration of the World (including Russia) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Also, the Sacred Congregation rightly reminded the faithful that soon after the 1984 Consecration the world witnessed the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and a re-awakening of the Christian Churches in Eastern Europe as a sign of Heaven’s acceptance of the consecration. Even Sister Lucia herself testified that Heaven had accepted the 1984 Consecration. So what’s the problem? Drop the Third Secret stuff already, right?
Few have commented on the gravity of Sister Lucia’s 1982 letter that was printed with the Third Secret. Certainly, the Sacred Congregation was not trying to “put one over” on the masses. After all, it prominently included Sister Lucia’s 1982 interpretation of the Third Secret. However, her interpretation seemingly got lost when two paragraphs later a confusing statement was made that could be interpreted as presenting the Third Secret as belonging to a by-gone era. The statement by the Secretary for the Congregation, Tarcisio Bertone, read: “The decision of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to make public the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil, yet pervaded by the merciful love of God and the watchful care of the Mother of Jesus and of the Church” [italics mine].
Some thought the Secretary painted the release of the Third Secret as though it “brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil.” Today, such a picture certainly does not seem as pretty or true as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In fact, it looks a lot more like something out of a Picasso sketch pad if it is taken out of the context of its release date.
The Third Secret was released in the year 2000, the close of the 20th Century. The Secretary was referring to the year of release, and not actually to the end of the Fatima era. He was describing the closing year of the century as one that “brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil.” He most definitely was not saying the release of the Third Secret marks a close to the Fatima message and era. Otherwise, the Sacred Congregation would look pretty silly.
The stress on the message of Fatima belonging to a now past era would be premature, especially with the proliferation of Islamic fascism and leftist policies throughout the world, including in the U.S. Perhaps a desire for peace in the new millennium could cause some to view the message of Fatima as no longer relevant. A careful reading of Lucia’s 1982 interpretation demonstrates just the opposite, that the real question today is no longer, “Were Our Lady’s requests for a consecration fulfilled?” but rather, “What will be the effects of having delayed the fulfillment of Our Lady’s requests?”
Serious Background to Lucia’s 1982 Letter
In August of 1931, in another well-known fact of the Fatima epic, Jesus appeared to Sister Lucia, and concerning the delay of the requested consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, said, “Make it known to my ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of my command, that they will follow him into misfortune” (Roy Varghese, God-Sent, New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2000, p.51). When the Lord had requested the consecration of France to His Sacred Heart on June 17, 1689, the Catholic king ignored the request. One hundred years later to the day, June 17, 1789, the French Revolution began with the formation of the National Assembly and the reigning king of France soon thereafter was beheaded by the revolutionaries. Therefore, Christ’s warning to Lucia in 1931 was extraordinarily serious.
Curiously, by 1982 the request not yet properly fulfilled to consecrate Russia Lucia seemed to think that the ministers of the Catholic Church already acted too late in heading off the devastation that Russia’s spread of errors would cause. And no wonder: more than 50 years had passed since Christ’s stern warning.
What Sister Lucia Actually Warned
The following is Sister Lucia’s May 1982 interpretation of the Third Secret after the assassination attempt on John Paul II and just before his first attempt to fulfill the request; an excerpt taken directly from the Vatican’s release of the Third Secret of Fatima:
The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady's words: “If not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated” (13-VII-1917).
The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world etc.”
Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person [right to life], immorality and violence…. [italics mine]
And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In His kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom He has given us; hence people are responsible.
How Lucia’s 1982 Statement Should Be Understood
Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, followed the statement that some found confusing about the secret’s release bringing an era to a close with the closing remark: “The action of God, the Lord of history, and the co-responsibility of man in the drama of his creative freedom, are the two pillars upon which human history is built. Our Lady, who appeared at Fatima, recalls these forgotten values. She reminds us that man's future is in God, and that we are active and responsible partners in creating that future.”
According then to Sister Lucia and His Excellency Tarcisio Bertone, the message of Fatima is not over: “Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it [the warning] has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And [etc....]”
The “culture of no accountability and no consequences” will still have to deal with the effects of the delay. The seeds of destruction were planted already due to the delay and their full growth has not yet been checked. We avoided nuclear disaster by Our Lady’s prayers that brought the Pope to the 1984 Consecration (praise God!), but we are still moving with great strides to the Secret’s fulfillment as sin and immorality continue to multiply and reach new levels of evil.
The Struggle Between the Woman and the Dragon Continues
Living in reality better enables us to face the challenges that lie ahead. There is still something that can be done despite the fact that according to Sister Lucia the ministers delayed and Russia did spread her errors; despite the fact that these errors fully bloomed and continue in China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, etc.; despite the fact that atheistic communism is finding allies in South America and many of the U.N.’s policies favor a culture of death; despite the fact that Christian belief and freedom of expression are under fire in Canada and formerly Christian Europe; despite the fact that Islamists wish to subjugate the West to Sharia law and continue heinous terrorist acts; despite the fact that Catholics knowingly vote for pro-abortion candidates and U.S companies find new means to murder human life at the microscopic level in stem cell research and cloning; and despite the fact that the ACLU has undermined religious freedom and America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
We can still follow the requests of Our Lady of Fatima to pray the Rosary daily for peace, to do penance for our sins and the sins of others, to be devoted to our Eucharistic Lord, and to accept Mary as our loving Mother and Help of Christians. Prayer and fasting are more powerful than either the pen or the sword. They dissolved the Soviet Union and they can annihilate the effects of Russia having already spread her errors.
Russia may even become an ally in the promotion of Christianity. The Consecration was delayed, but it was also accepted! Perhaps prayers for continued religious freedom in Russia will enable the Orthodox and Catholics to repair the damage and deal with the evil effects that still flow due to the time of the Evil Empire. Perhaps Russia will even help strengthen Christians in the U.S. suffering horrific apostasies such as acceptance of an active homosexual bishop amongst the Episcopalians.
The Fight for Christendom’s Soul
It is premature for parishes to discontinue First Saturday devotions. Now more than ever people need to hear again the importance of repentance from sin, and, as at Fatima, be reminded of the existence of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Now more than ever people need to meditate with Mary on the mysteries of their salvation and learn how to be true Christian disciples. Now more than ever people need to frequent the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. Our Lady’s peace plan still works, but it only works if people are practicing it. Peace is not elusive where there is supernatural faith, hope, and charity. These are the arms that make sham powers fall and stop the effects of past evil and sin.
John Paul II instituted the Year of the Rosary in continuation of what was asked at Fatima, to pray the Rosary daily for peace. He asked us to pray not only for peace, but for the protection of the family and the rights of persons, the foundation of truly civil society. We do not have to move “little by little with great strides” to the “complete fulfillment of the final part of this [third secret] prophecy.” However, you can bet we will, just as sure as the Pope is Catholic, if upon the end of the Year of the Rosary we lay down our beads because we think it is time to rest.
© Copyright 2003 Catholic Exchange
Matthew Tsakanikas is a freelance Catholic writer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org