We’ve been working our way chronologically through Mary’s apparitions, beginning with 1830. As we saw, there were several apparitions clustered together in the 1870s. In the following years Ven. Teresa Higginson, in England, received touching visions of Jesus who asked for a cult of reparation to his thorn-crowned head for the sins of intellectual pride, reinforcing in a way, the revelations regarding his Holy Face which we covered several weeks ago. It’s a double them that will run through, devotion to and consecration to Jesus and Mary, particularly to their Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Devotion to the Sacred Heart had been firmly established for several centuries, but since 1830 attention becomes focused on the compliment and completion because it’s necessary that the New Adam and the New Eve be joined together.
Prelude to Devotion to the Sorrowful Heart
The Miraculous Medal silently featured the thorn-crowned heart of Jesus and the sword-pierced heart of Mary, then the Green Scapular featured the Immaculate Heart. Then the Scapular of Our Lady featured the Heart. Next, comes apparitions of Mary to Berthe Petite, in Belgium.
Our Lord said to her December 25, 1909:
“Teach souls to love the Heart of my Mother pierced by the very sorrows which pierced mine.”
A few weeks later (February 7, 1910) she saw Two Hearts fused together surmounted by a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Our Lord said September 8, 1911:
“The Heart of my Mother has the right to be called Sorrowful because She has won it Herself. This right which my Mother has to a title of justice, is now, according to my express wish, to be known and universally accepted. She has earned it by her identification with my sorrows, by her sufferings: by her sacrifices and her immolation on Calvary endured in perfect correspondence with my grace for the salvation of mankind. In her co-redemption lies the nobility of my Mother and for this reason I ask that the Invocation which I have demanded be approved and spread through the whole Church. It has already obtained many graces; it will obtain yet more when the Church will be exalted, and the world renewed through its Consecration to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of my Mother.”
Around 1910 Berthe began receiving political prophecies. After predicting the assassination of Archduke Franz Josef, I, which would initiate World War I, Jesus told her:
“It will be the first of those events full of sorrows, but from whence I shall still bring forth good and which will precede the chastisement.”
Cardinal Mercier was Berthe’s spiritual director for several years. He was deeply impressed by her heavenly communications, and energetically promoted the devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Belgium. He approached Pope Saint Pius X to win his approval for the worldwide devotion. Seventeen petitions were made to the Pope, but the saint did not find it appropriate to promote a new worldwide devotion at that time.
In February, 1915, Our Lord said to Berthe:
“It is through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of my Mother that I will triumph, because having cooperated in the redemption of souls, this Heart has the right to share a similar cooperation in the manifestations of my justice and of my love. My Mother is noble in everything, but she is especially so in her wounded Heart, transfixed by the wound of mine. The time has now arrived when I wish mankind to turn to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of my Mother. Let this prayer be uttered by every soul: ‘Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us’. This devotion will restore faith and hope to broken hearts and to ruined families. It will help to repair the destruction. It will sweeten sorrow. It will be a new strength for my Church, bringing souls, not only to confidence in my Heart, but also to abandonment to the Sorrowful Heart of my Mother.”
On May 3, 1915, Pope Benedict sent a letter to all the bishops of the world:
“Let us send up our prayers, more than ever, ardent and frequent, to Him in whose hands lie the destinies of all peoples, and let us appeal with confidence to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most gentle Mother of Jesus and ours, that by her powerful intercession She will obtain from her divine Son the speedy end of the war and the return of peace and tranquility.”
That was in 1915. Two years later God would initiate a new campaign for devotion to Mary’s Heart and perform a miracle witnessed by at least 70,000 persons in a place called Fatima, Portugal. The long, penitential life of Berthe Petite and her visions are worthy of a full conference, as is the life of Ven. Teresa Higginson, but in this winter seminar I’m trying to focus on the main pieces in the mosaic of Marian apparitions so I’ll leave some links and let you meditate on these holy persons on your own. However, one image of Mary’s sword-pierced Heart has become known throughout the world but not many realize it’s connection to the Belgian apparitions so I’ll quote Dr. Courtney Bartholomew from Trinidad:
A picture of Our Lady, referred to later as Our Lady of Ollignies, is of mysterious origin. It was discovered in [the town of Ollignies] in 1918 in the convent of the Bernadine nuns who had educated Berthe Petit. After the withdrawal of the German troops from Belgium, [at the end of WWI] , one of the Sisters was asked to put the basement in order. Among the various items she found was a piece of cardboard wrapped in an old newspaper with pornographic pictures which she tore off to be burnt along with other rubbish. However, to her astonishment she found underneath the cardboard, a beautiful picture of our Lady. This was reported to the Mother Superior. The whole community then felt that their safety during the war was probably due to the special protection of Our Lady manifested by that picture within the precincts of the convent. However, in spite of thorough investigations they were unable to trace its origin.
When it was shown to Berthe Petit in 1919 on returning from Switzerland after the war, she at once recognized it as a picture of the two-fold symbols of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The image in the picture represented the Mother of God, holding in her left hand a lily, the symbol of her immaculate purity, the gratuitous gift of her divine Son; the finger of her right hand pointed to her Sorrowful Heart surmounted by flames and pierced with a sword. Soon it became widely known and sought after, all over Belgium. It bore on the back an Act of Consecration dictated by Our Lord Himself to Berthe Petit—and used by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Bourne, Primate of England, during and after World War I.Dr. Courtenay Bartholomew, M.D., The Last Help Before the End of Time, Queenship, 2005. — http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2005/07/the-sorrowful-and-immaculate-heart-of-mary-the-revelations-of-berthe-petit
As I said, we’ve been working our way chronologically so I was pleased that I would end up speaking on Fatima on a First Saturday in the centenary year of the 1917 apparition. I hope that’s a sign that Our Lady will be helping me to select the bits of information that you need to hear today. With three apparitions of an angel, and six apparitions of Mary to the children and subsequent visions that young Jacinta had when she lay dying in a hospital at the age of ten, and later apparitions that Lucia had when she was a nun, I am not going to attempt to give any overview of all this in this conference. The apparition of Fatima has received the highest approval of the Church. All the Catholics among my acquaintances are familiar with it, as much as Lourdes. Excellent books and websites abound on this. I particularly recommend the site devoted to the writings of John Haffert who made it his life’s work to spread information on this apparition. All of his books and articles are available as free PDF downloads at a special website–http://johnhaffert.org. I trust he is now enjoying a place in heaven very close to Mary’s heart.
The Apparition of Secrets
In today’s conference I’m going to focus only on the July apparition of 2017 in which Mary confided three secrets to the children. As at LaSalette, these were meant only as temporary secrets, to be divulged at a later time, after the main apparitions had been securely established as genuine and the witnesses trustworthy. Naturally, the tales of three young country children, ages 6, 7, and 10 were at first met with laughter, so it took a series of events with more and more witnesses joining the children on the 13th of each month, until at last there was a great miracle on October 13, 1917, during which 70,000 present screamed in terror, believing death was imminent. [Some accounts say 100,00]. I read a great deal on Fatima whey I was a child and young teenager. Sign magazine was popular as it featured articles with all sorts of Fatima facts. It was probably in one of those issues where I was deeply touched to read the remarks of someone who personally interviewed many of the witnesses. He ran into a few isolated cases, at least three persons—I remember one young man in his twenties–who did not experience any feeling of terror when the sun appeared to become detached from the orbit, then spin, and finally plunge toward the earth. For these persons it was only a display of beautiful colors wherein they felt great joy in beholding the greatness of the Creator. They were very devout, even daily Communicants. That thought has always stayed with me, like the remark of St. Bernadette, who said that when she prayed the Rosary at the grotto of Lourdes, Mary’s gaze would roam across the vast crowd, and every now and then She would look pleased and delighted as if She had noticed a friend. The threats of divine punishment are never uttered indiscriminately. If the Lord’s obedient and devout children have to be included in a general chastisement, it’s so that they can join their sufferings to Jesus crucified, to
“fill up what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ” for the present generation.Col 1:24
A friend called to my attention that just a few weeks ago, on January 18th, the National Catholic Register featured an article about Fatima by Msgr. Charles Pope. You can find it online. I’ll just quote a few extracts:
St. Michael and Our Lady of Fatima: Why 2017 is Such a Critical Moment
I have written elsewhere about why I think that 2017 will be a critical year. I believe it will be a year of hidden blessings or one of something so shocking that it will usher in a blessing that will only be understood later.
It is said that in 1884 Pope Leo XIII had an experience during which he heard God say that he would permit a period of 100 years that would test the Church in Job-like fashion. This alarmed Pope Leo enough that he penned the well-known Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and asked that it be prayed at the end of Mass throughout the universal Church. Some dispute the accuracy of this and call it mere legend, but it is hard to deny that the attack/test occurred. But when and what is the hundred-year period?
My premise is that, though it was foreseen by Leo in 1884, it actually began in 1917.
Though it is disheartening, the battle in the Church over the sanctity of holy matrimony has reached the highest levels, just as our Lady said. Cardinal is pitted against cardinal, bishop against bishop. In the wider culture, marriage has been redefined; biblical and natural law teachings have been set aside. At this point I don’t think that our culture has a definition of marriage at all; it’s whatever anyone wants to say it is. This is no minor error; it is a civilization killer. Something tells me that this year of 2017 is going to be critical and that we had better pray — a lot more than we have in the past. Repentance is also crucial. Being sleepy in the battle cannot be an option. We are at a turning point. Perhaps the hundred years of trial are ending; they might end well, or they might come to a dreadful conclusion. That is why we must pray. [http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/st.-michael-and-our-lady-of-fatima-why-2017-is-such-a-critical-moment]
2017 Marks Several Centenaries
— 1517: 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt, beginning with the priest Martin Luther
— 1717: 300th anniversary of the beginning in London of modern Freemasonry, destined to be the chief organ of political revolts in the world.
— 1917: 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia with an armed insurrection in Saint Petersburg. It was called the October Revolution by the Russians who at that time had not adopted the modern Gregorian calendar. By their reckoning it was October 25, but for most of the world it was November 7th, about three weeks after the October 13th miracle of the sun at Fatima where our Lady had so much to say about Russia.
— In between those dates, a very young saint, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, in Rome for his doctorate studies, had personally been shocked by demonstrations organized in commemoration of the second centenary of Freemasonry. The Freemasons put up a black banner on St. Peter’s Square, under the windows of the Pope. It pictured Lucifer treading the archangel St. Michael underfoot, and it bore these words: “Satan must reign in the Vatican, the Pope will be his slave”. To counteract the Freemasons, he founded the ‘Militia of Mary Immaculate’. and it first meeting was on 17th October 17th, 1917, four days after the Miracle of the Sun in faraway Portugal.
Let’s add one more item of interest to this list of anniversaries. A Protestant blogsite is very excited about an astronomical sign in 2017 corresponding to the woman of Rev. 12. They seem to be completely unaware that 2017 is the centenary of the apparition of a woman who appeared in the sky clothed in light, with the sun dancing around her, although the moon was a waning crescent and not visible at the noon miracle:
On Rosh Hashanah Sept 11, 3 bc, the constellation Virgo was “clothed with the sun,” and the moon was under her feet. Above her head 3 planets—Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter—were in alignment with the star Regulus in Leo. Regulus was also in conjunction with Jupiter. This Regulus/Jupiter conjunction is what David Larson believed to be the Star of Bethlehem. The 9 stars of Leo and the 3 planets aligning with Regulus make the crown of 12 stars.
On Rosh Hashanah Sept. 20-21, 2017, Virgo is clothed with the Sun. The Moon is not under her feet but is in close conjunction with the sun, and there is an alignment of Jupiter, the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Regulus, with Venus in conjunction with Regulus. Three days after this alignment on 9/23/17, Virgo is “clothed with the sun,” the moon is now under her feet, and above her head are 3 planets—Mercury, Mars, and Venus, which are in alignment with the star Regulus in Leo. The 9 stars of Leo and the 3 aligning planets make the crown of 12 stars. Thus, this alignment meets the criteria of the Rev. 12 sign of the Woman clothed with the Sun, and is similar to the 3 bc alignment.
This alignment occurs the day after the second day of Rosh Hashanah on the day of Shabbat Shuvah—the Sabbath of Return. Due to retrograde motion Jupiter stays in or near the abdomen of Virgo until September 9, 2017. Thus, it is in or near the abdomen of Virgo for a day short of 42 weeks, after which time it is born out of the abdomen of Virgo. Note: Normal human gestation is from 37-42 weeks. Is this what this verse is in reference to? Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Thus this truly is a unique sign and according to one researcher is the only time in all of earth’s history that Jupiter stays in or near the womb of Virgo for a normal human gestation period, which is then followed by the sun clothing the constellation Virgo with the moon under her feet and twelve stars on her head. [http://endtimesforecaster.blogspot.com]
The July Apparition at Fatima 1917
Let us turn to the vision of Mary at Fatima on 13th of July, 1917. Mary appeared in her usual manner over the holm oak tree. In 1917 the children had a very limited vocabulary to describe a celestial vision. The first basilica, which was completed in 1951, would feature a new statue of Mary on the facade. A certain Father McGlyn was chosen as sculptor and he interviewed Lucia, now a religious, to seek more precision about the apparition.
She kept saying that Our Lady was all light. The dress and the mantle could be distinguished from each other like two “undulations of light”, one over the other. What the children had said was a golden border on the mantle, was really a line of more intense light. Likewise, the chain suspended from her neck was really just light joined by a ball of light. Even her skin was a flesh-colored light. This light had different tones. Nor could she remember seeing Mary’s feet.
Lucia wrote down two of the secrets very precisely on August 31st, 1942 for a fresh publication to be issued for the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Fatima. It’s been published many times, since. I’ll be following the Fatima in Lucia’s own Words: Sister Lucia’s Third Memoir 2007, 16th edition:
1st Secret: The Vision of Hell
Well, the secret is made up of three distinct parts, two of which I am now going to reveal. The first part is the vision of hell. Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror. We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart [Note: If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.]
2nd Secret: Consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart
The war [WWI] is going to end but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI [WWII began with the occupation of Austria in 1938]. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she 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. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
3rd Secret: The Vision of the Pope in White
This is the text that she wrote in Tuy, January 3, 1944 and was read in Rome in the year 2000.
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your most holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a bishop dressed in white ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
The first two secrets were already public knowledge in the 1940s, but it took eighty-three years for any Pope to release the Third Secret. Let’s begin with this Third Secret. Many Catholics can remember the day it was released, like older Americans remember the day JFK was shot or our astronauts landed on the moon. We had all expected it to reveal some catastrophe for the imminent future, the details of the punishment that Mary had said would come if the world would not repent. Clearly, the predicted WWII arrived, as did the spread of Communism. What else was going to happen to force the world to its knees so that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary could finally reign in the world? What was it that made all three children keep silence when threatened with death by boiling oil if they would only tell the secret? Nobody expected a vision within a vision. All we got was a short piece of paper with a one paragraph description of an enigmatic scene of people getting killed for the Faith, and then a Cardinal telling us that it wasn’t about the future but about the twentieth century. It was a dead letter. Game over.
So, when was the Pope killed? Well, Pope John Paul II had been shot on the anniversary of the May 13th apparition, so evidently the prayers of the faithful and the intervention of Mary had mitigated the prophecy. After all, prophecy is ordinarily contingent. Jonah had been immensely disappointed when the Ninevites repented and God did not carry out his threats. Jonah, as a prophet, probably foresaw that this people’s repentance would be short-lived and within a century Assyria would be used by God to decimate Israel. Most of the northern tribes were never heard from again. So now, like Jonah, we all felt some consternation. Mother Angelica, in her blunt manner, said openly: “As for the Secret, well I happen to be one of those individuals who thinks we didn’t get the whole thing.”
I was in the cloister and I wasn’t aware that Mother Angelica had made that remark. Since I hold her in very high esteem, I would have been influenced. But in the year 2000, I had no reason to doubt such a holy pontiff as John Paul II. I was a little confused that he himself didn’t release the text or issue any comment whatsoever but delegated all that to others. As a result, there was no pontifical interpretation of the Secret, only the opinion of prelates, mainly Cardinal Bertone of whose integrity I had a very low opinion because of the way he handled our Carmelite legislation in the 1990s. It was only Bertone who said that the Third Secret was a thing of the past. It wasn’t my opinion.
The Second Secret had called for a consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart and throughout my entire life there have been small but noisy factions in the Catholic Church who advocate for both the consecration of Russia and the release of the Third Secret. No matter how many popes have made the consecration, it was never done in a manner that satisfied these annoying people. Would they at least be finally satisfied that the Third Secret was released? Of course not. They immediately began disseminating their reasons for not believing that it was the authentic text. Their publications always struck me as disgusting, rude, rebellious. Even the Son of God wasn’t good enough for them. Most of these people will not acknowledge any pope since Pius XII. They hate the Second Vatican Council. They want the Latin Mass back. Many of them are scandalized by Catholics who act friendly to people of other religions. They regard every non-baptized non-Catholic as already standing with one foot in hell, and in fact they consider most modern-day Catholics to be damned. I’m sorry to go on and on, but some of my dear childhood friends got lured into this kind of cult and broke off from the Church which I call the true Church, and which they call the apostate Church. In my love for my friends I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get to the essence of the problem. It took me years to get past the fluff, the complaining of guitar Masses or the nostalgia for statues and incense, the dislike of altar girls, etc. But none of this explained exactly their problem with the Fatima question. Finally, I saw it. We were dealing with proud Pharisees who cling to the absolute letter of the law. If the consecration is only worded precisely (and I guess they want to draw up the text), then hocus pocus, the magic words will bring about instant peace in the world. The popes just can’t seem to phrase the incantation correctly. It’s all their fault that we don’t have world peace and an end to communism. Here’s an example of the tone in their publications:
A great crime has been committed against the Catholic Church and the world at large. The perpetrators of this crime are men who hold high offices in the Catholic hierarchy . . . The victims of this crime include you and your loved ones. The consequences of the crime have already been catastrophic, the subject matter of the crime that concerns us is commonly known as the Message of Fatima. The nature of the crime is largely an attempt by certain men who enjoy high offices in the Church to impose upon Catholics an understanding of the Message of Fatima that is plainly contrary to fact—as, for example, the claim by these men that a consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can be accomplished by consecrating the world, while deliberately avoiding any mention of Russia.. what is at stake in this case is nothing less than the salvation of millions of souls the welfare of the Church and the survival of civilization itself in this age of humanity.The Devil’s Final Battle, a collection of articles edited by Father Paul Kramer: Introduction
What good would it do for a Pope to recite a prayer? Mary asked for conversion, deep conversion. The Pope is head of the body. The whole people with all the bishops need to be of one mind and heart in turning to Mary with repentant and suppliant hearts to ask this grace of God. No Pope wants to “heap up empty words” [Mt 6:7]. No Pope can dare to single out one particular nation as in need of conversion when so many other nations are guilty.
“Before removing the splinter from our brother’s eye, we need to remove the log from our own.”
And politically, it’s extremely delicate to publicly pray for one nation, especially one that is Orthodox, and not Catholic. The Pope would need his cardinals, curia, and bishops to stand my him as a bulwark of defense for the backlash that would come from such an action. But all that is useless to these hypocrites. The incantation just needs to be uttered. There won’t be any backlash. Instead, all minds would be enlightened in a flash, or rather forced from on high, and the whole world would be instantaneously converted. Boo hoo that this hasn’t happened because nobody has said the right words, or worn the right vestments, or used the right amount of holy water.
But it seems that I’ve jumped to the Second Secret and forgotten the Third Secret. No, I just wanted to explain why so few Catholics wanted to jump on their bandwagon to raise doubts as to whether the Pope gave us the correct version of the Third Secret, or somehow slipped in another text. I found the vision very rich for meditation. I didn’t see that the people making their way to the Cross were all literally killed because the weapons were bullets and arrows. Arrows haven’t been used since 1917. It reminded me of the famous dream of St. John Bosco who saw the Pope on a ship with many other persons.
These ships were armed with cannons, guns and arms of every kind, incendiary materials and even books.
Imagine a gun or a canon loaded with books. Religious wars are usually fought with the pen. It’s a battle of ideas and of interpretations of the inspired Word of God. Anyway, no modern prelate would be comfortable with a vision of angels gathering human blood and sprinkling the people with it. This kind of theology goes back to St. Paul who said that his sufferings could somehow help save others.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the ChurchCol 1:24
Mary has been appearing all over the world asking us to do penance, not only for our own sins, but for others. But it’s a fringe kind of doctrine. The Church hasn’t really defined why Jesus’ sufferings might not be enough. Grace and merit are terms that lay in the realm of textbook disputes, not in official magisterial documents. When is the last time you heard a sermon encouraging six-year olds to wear instruments of penance and give up their lunch once in a while, and to pray a long time each day? This was what the Angel and the Mother of Jesus were teaching little Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. By the way, I’ve never read any commentary on the names of the children who were chosen to receive the messages of Mary. Lucia means light. Lucifer means light-bearer. Mary is the Woman clothed with the Sun. Francisco is a name that was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi. His dad was an Italian cloth merchant. He did good business with France so he named his son, what would be the equivalent of “Frenchy.” I find this interesting because, France is at the center of most of Mary’s messages. France bears the title “Eldest Daughter of the Church”. I think she’s being used symbolically as the head of the Mystical Bride of Christ. Ordinarily, we think of Rome as the head church, but the Book of Revelation is all about the wedding feast, and the return of the bridegroom, so a feminine symbol works better. The sins of France are the sins of the entire bride. As for the name Jacinta, it’s the Portuguese equivalent of our word for Hyacinth, the flower with a purple hue. It’s a Greek word, the name of a boy who was killed by a discus and bled into the ground. In Greek mythology a flower sprang up from the blood and the sun god Apollo named the flower after the boy Hyakinthos. This brings us back to the whole idea of offering up our sufferings which “bloom” into graces, that angels can sprinkle on souls in need of grace.
But all this meandering was to come to the point that ten years after the release of the Third Secret in which Cardinal Bertone said that it was all about past events, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict traveled to Fatima in May of 2010 and offered a different interpretation from his airplane on May 11th:
Beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to the moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world.
Two days later, at a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2010, he said:
We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.
The Pope himself had just invited the universal Church to re-visit the Third Secret. It lifted the taboo and natural repugnance regarding the fringe Catholics. What is it they were saying? The text released by the Vatican wasn’t the true text, or rather that it wasn’t the only text? Hmmm. All sorts of interesting items turn up on websites. Perhaps the most amazing publication came from a totally unexpected source. At the end of 2006, Antonio Socci, a mainstream Italian author and TV anchorman, not associated with any “traditionalist” group, published a book Il Quarto Segreto di Fatima (The Fourth Secret of Fatima). The purpose of the book is to argue that there are two texts and he produces the testimony of the secretary of Pope John XXIII.
Socci was intrigued by an article published by another Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori, at the time of Sister Lucy’s death in February 13, 2005. Messori was disturbed that
“the cell of Sister Lucy had been sealed. There would have been many writings and letters to popes. Messori raised questions about the way the Vatican revealed the Secret. Messori had a reputation as an extremely precise journalist, the most translated Catholic columnist in the world. How could a person so close to the Vatican be persuaded that the official version of the Third Secret was not convincing? Socci sought clarification among his own friends in the Vatican. “Cardinal Bertone, who actually favored me with his personal consideration, having asked me to conduct conferences in his former diocese of Genoa, didn’t deem to answer my request for an interview and this only increased the fear of the existence of embarrassing questions, and most of all, that there is something (extremely important) which needs to be kept hidden.”
Socci said in his Introduction that he had not expected to find such a “colossal enigma” regarding the Third Secret. “In the end I had to surrender” to the conclusion that there exists two texts of the Secret, one of which has yet to be revealed to the world.
Cardinal Oddi, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy 1979-1986:
(March 17,1990, in the journal Il Sabato)
“It has nothing to do with Gorbachev. The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church.”
Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi
(Paul II’s personal papal theologian, quoted in the journal Catholic, March 2002)
“In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
Father Joaquin Alonso (+1981),
(sixteen years the official archivist at Fatima, and had many interviews with Sister Lucy)
“It is completely probable that the text makes concrete references to the crisis of faith within the Church and to the negligence of the pastors themselves [and the] internal struggles in the very bosom of the Church and of grave pastoral negligence of the upper hierarchy In the period preceding the great triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, terrible things are to happen. These form the content of the third part of the Secret. What are they? If ‘in Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved,’ it can be clearly deduced from this that in other parts of the Church these dogmas are going to become obscure or even lost altogether. It is very possible that it speaks not only of a real crisis of the faith in the Church during this in-between period, but like the Secret of LaSalette, for example, there are more concrete references to the internal struggles of Catholics or to the fall of priests and religious. Perhaps it even refers to the failures of the upper hierarchy of the Church. For that matter, none of this is foreign to other communications Sister Lucy has had on this subject.”
Bishop Amaral, the third Bishop of Fatima,
said in a speech in Vienna, Austria, September 10, 1984:
“Its content concerns only our faith. To identify the [Third] Secret with catastrophic announcements or with a nuclear holocaust is to deform the meaning of the message. The loss of faith of a continent is worse than the annihilation of a nation; and it is true that faith is continually diminishing in Europe.”
In 1957, the Holy Office of the Vatican requested that the Bishop of Fatima send the Secret to the Vatican. When Bishop Venancio was alone with the Secret, he held the envelope up to the light. He could discern that in the Bishop’s large envelope Sister Lucy’s smaller envelope. And inside this envelope was one small sheet of paper containing about 25 to 30 lines.
Yet the Vatican’s June 26 Third Secret was written by Sister Lucy on four sheets of paper and contained 62 lines. Here again, we encounter evidence of two texts of the Secret.
Solideo Paolini and Archbishop Capovilla
Antonio Socci knew Solideo Paolini, a young journalist who visited the former secretary of Pope John XXIII, Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla July 5, 2006. Long story short, this Vatican prelate confirmed that there are two texts. One text is kept in the Holy Office. The other envelope was lodged in the papal apartments. John XXIII first broke the seal, then kept it in his room. Pius XII keep it in a safe. On May 14, 1957 Mother Pasqualina, who directed the handful of Sisters acting as the Pope’s housekeepers, showed a journalist the little safe which bore a label “Secret of the Holy Office.” She said: “In there is the third Secret of Fatima.” Paul VI also kept this text in his personal quarters.
I won’t attempt to quote here the details, the witnesses, the photographs and names of books and magazines. It’s been a great puzzle. Pieces of information have been gradually collected and now nobody doubts that there are two texts and only one text has been revealed to the public. But why two texts? The answer is in Lucia’s Third Memoir written1942.
What is the secret? It seems to me that I can reveal it, since I already have permission from Heaven to do so. God’s representatives on earth have authorized me to do this several times. Rev. Fr. José Bernardo Gonçalves advised me to write to the Holy Father, suggesting, among other things, that I should reveal the secret. I did say something about it. But in order not to make my letter too long, since I was told to keep it short, I confined myself to the essentials, leaving it to God to provide another more favorable opportunity.Fatima in Lucia’s own Words: Sister Lucia’s Third Memoir 2007, 16th edition
So, before 1942 at the urging of her director, Lucia had sent a short version of the secret to Pope Pius XII which he opened and read. Then in 1942 she composed a longer text and wrote on the envelope that it was to be opened in 1960 or at her death, whichever came first. Cardinal Ottaviani testified that Pope John XXIII read a text of the Secret in 1960, that was contained in another sealed envelope. The Pope broke the seal and opened the envelope. Although it was in Portuguese, he told me afterwards that he understood the text in its entirety.” The Pope returned it to the envelope saying, “I leave it to others to comment or decide.” Remember Pope John XXIII may have already had symptoms of stomach cancer. He died within two years.
Is the Third Secret About Corruption or Schism?
If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she 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. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc [Third Secret] Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.July 13th, 2017
If, “in Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved”,
we may obviously deduce from this that, in other parts of the Church, these dogmas will either be obscured or even lost. Howard Dee, former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican, revealed in a 1998 interview with Inside the Vatican that
“Bishop Ito was certain that the message of Mary at Akita was an extension of Fatima. Cardinal Ratzinger personally confirmed to me that these two messages, of Fatima and Akita, are essentially the same.”Catholic World News, October 11, 2001; See www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=20583
Akita, Japan is a fully approved Marian apparition.
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres. churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.
For the last six months cardinals have been opposing cardinals, albeit politely. But the subject matter is of deepest doctrinal content. We can cite an article from the United Kingdom published two or three weeks ago by Dan Hitchens
The Church is Now in a Full-blown Civil War over Doctrine
A few weeks ago, the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica published a startling article on women priests. Its arguments were familiar: the author, deputy editor Fr Giancarlo Pani, asked readers to consider whether an all-male priesthood might perhaps be outdated. “There is unease,” Fr Pani wrote, “among those who fail to understand how the exclusion of woman from the Church’s ministry can coexist with the affirmation and appreciation of her equal dignity.” What is startling is that this appeared in a journal edited by one of the Pope’s closest advisers, Fr Antonio Spadaro; a journal very close to the Holy See – every page is vetted by the Vatican. It suggests that the Church, even at its highest levels, is now entering a full-blown civil war over doctrine. There was a further example yesterday, when Vatican Radio promoted a new book by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Cardinal Coccopalmerio says that the divorced and remarried can receive Communion if they have a desire to change their situation – even if they are not endeavoring to live “as brother and sister”.[http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2017/02/15/the-church-is-now-in-a-full-blown-civil-war-over-doctrine]
Mary once told Josyp Teralya “The Third Secret is all around you.” With that I think we can conclude our remarks on the Third Secret. As for the Second Secret, I already touched on the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart. It needs to come from the whole body.
Jesus told Lucia: “They did not wish to heed My request. Like the King of France, they will regret it and then do it, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.” [at Rianjo in August of 1931]
Jesus was referring to the King of France who had been commanded by Jesus through Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque on June 17, 1689 to consecrate France to His Sacred Heart. For one hundred years the kings had refused to do this and on June 17, 1789, one hundred years to the day, the King of France was stripped of his power by the Third Estate. Four years later King Louis XVI was sent to the guillotine.
Five First Saturdays
The Second Secret also called for the Devotion to the Five First Saturdays
On December 10, 1925 Our Lord and the Most Holy Virgin appeared to me, showing me her Immaculate Heart encircled with thorns, and asking for reparation.
Lucia’s confessor wanted to know why five Saturdays were requested. Remaining in the chapel, with Our Lord, part of the night of the 29th-30th of the month of May, 1930, and talking to Our Lord about the confessor’s questions,
I suddenly felt possessed more intimately by the Divine Presence; and if I am not mistaken, the following was revealed to me: “Daughter, the motive is simple: There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
1st–Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
2nd–Blasphemies against her Virginity
3rd–Blasphemies against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of Mankind.
4th–Blasphemies by those who seek publicly, to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother.
5th–Blasphemies by those who insult the Mother of God in her sacred images.
Hell and Purgatory:
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, and save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
Such was the prayer that Mary asked to be added to the end of each decade of the Rosary, as if to instill in us a constant concern for the immortal peril in which souls live, and our responsibility to help them.
The 13th of May, 1917
“Shall I go to Heaven too?”
“Yes, you will”
“She will go also.”
“He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.
“Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?”
“Yes, she is.” (I think she was about 16 years old).
“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age).
“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
“Yes, we are willing.”
“Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
Mary opened her hands and the children experienced the wonderful presence of the Holy Trinity.
[Fatima in Lucia’s own Words: Sister Lucia’s Third Memoir 2007, 16th edition]
Alleged revelations of souls who have appeared from Purgatory said that their worst suffering was the sight of a soul in hell to whose damnation they somehow contributed by bad example or bad advice. What about the ones whose damnation are due to our sins of omission? Mary said at Fatima:
“Many souls go to hell because they have no one to sacrifice and pray for them.” (Aug. 19, 1917)
For a self-centered person to change a deeply rooted attitude which has become natural to him requires outside help, that is, super-natural assistance. A grace is like an illumination or mirror which serves to show the soul her deformities of character which make her unworthy of a loving society.
• Mary’s statement does not imply that these souls were not fully guilty of eternal damnation
Fundamentally, any mortal sin severs grace. It is a radical option for self. The damned soul is not contrite but determined in his or her choice. Every person ordinarily receives an intellect with judgment and free will and he is obligated to use these faculties. The souls in hell were indeed guilty.
• Mary’s statement implies that not all of the damned enter hell because they deliberately choose to hate God but are there because of a habit of selfishness. They failed to deliberately choose the way of goodness, the way of self-giving, and thus could have been assisted by the prayers of another.
• Mary’s statement is a reminder of the power of prayer and sacrifice
The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins [James 5:16-20]
The soul, by her own power cannot change its condition. Another soul can win some opportunity for a new test, a new light, a chance to repent. Man’s intelligence, unlike that of angels, is feeble. More light can make him re-form his values.
• Mary’s statement does not imply that these souls would have profited from opportunities for repentance.
When Mary said “not one need to have perished” this means that if enough souls had prayed and offered penance for them, there would have been sufficient grace for every sinner to be given another chance at repentance. It does not mean that every sinner would have availed himself of that opportunity and repented.
Is Hell really forever? After a soul has experienced the horror of hell, won’t that soul naturally repent and beg for mercy? To be sorry for the consequences of sin is not the same as sorrow for sin. A soul damns itself by making a choice for selfishness. Heaven is a love-feast. Anti-social persons would never fit in. They are “slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing [their] days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another.” [Titus 3:3] It is the soul’s free decision to respond by repenting, that is, turning aside from her own ideas to ponder the truth. If souls are damned, it’s because they had refused obedience to the light of truth, preferring their own set of values.
If Jesus says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this life or in the next, it is because this ‘non-forgiveness’ is linked, as to its cause, to ‘non-repentance’, in other words to the radical refusal to be converted”[#46Dominum et Vivificantum].
God is very merciful and can be trusted to have sent many calls for repentance during a person’s natural lifetime. He sent a long line of prophets to Israel and finally his only-beloved Son to die for sinners, and there are also many interior ways in which he “enlightens every man” (cf Jn 1:9). An angel told St. John Bosco that God warns a soul a hundred times. Mass is the most powerful offering for souls. Our daily Mass brings down immense graces on the world.
“The Church constantly implores from God the grace that integrity of human consciences will not be lost, that their healthy sensitivity with regard to good and evil will not be blunted.”#47 Dominum et Vivificantum
Origin was excommunicated by the 5th Ecumenical council of the Orthodox and all his writings in Greek were destroyed precisely because he believed that in the end those in hell would be released. Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote a famous treatise under the title “Dare we hope?” in which he argues that God is so merciful that it is doubtful if He has allowed any soul to be lost. Von Balthasar relies heavily on Adrienne VonSpeyr’s alleged mystical excursions. He quotes her on nearly page of the final volume of his TheoDrama
• Speyr and Balthasar hold that man’s condemnation to hell is virtually an infinitely impossible possibilty, otherwise God would have failed in his desire to save all men.
• They admit that some angels are damned. (Evidently God did not will to save all angels.) The fallen angels are worthy of our compassion. Their condition is a constant reminder that God is beyond our understanding!
• Balthasar’s collection of quotes from the Fathers is neither balanced or complete, but quite eclectic.
• Balthasar basically denies man’s free choice. God outwits our choice.
• The only reason to explain the popularity of Von Balthasar is that many people feel that the dogma of hell is too hard. In Jesus’ day the teaching was not disputed, rather it was his claim on sonship and the Eucharist, which brought God too near.
Think how many times Jesus spoke of hell! Our culture certainly approves of freedom of choice. Why is it so hard to think that God gives us a choice to reject his values and choose our own?