Jul - Dec 2003
Discovery of the Secret of La Salette
1) A Book Review
By Father Dominique Bourmaud
Fayard Publications (France) have recently published (in April 2002) a book entitled Discovery of the Secret of La Salette, by Fathers René Laurentin and Michel Corteville, intended for the general public on a subject taboo to modern Catholics. It concerns nothing less than an elucidation on the question of the authenticity of the Secret of La Salette, known especially in its last version, the longest, that of 1879 which had received the imprimatur of Bishop Zola, bishop of Lecce in Italy. The reason of this book is actually to summarize and popularize another book printed in 2000, an enormous thesis of more than a thousand pages, of Father Michel Corteville, La grande nouvelle des bergers de la Salette (The great news of the shepherds of La Salette (the second part which concerns the Order of the Mother of God remains to be published). It is he who, in October 1999, discovered the original Secrets given to Pope Pius IX in 1851, buried for more than one century in the Vatican archives. This thesis was written to defend the divine authenticity of the Secrets.
Father Laurentin is an avant-garde theologian very involved in the ecumenical charismatism, that of Medjugorje, inter alia. Obviously, his signature on such a book is not there to reassure us first of all. It is true that the book smells skepticism as regards the supernatural order. On one hand, Laurentin is right to bring the Secret of La Salette close to that of Fatima, but on the other, his interpretation follows the official Vatican version of Cardinal Sodano. However, in order to do that, he must denature the precise details of Fatima (p.149 and 158), and draws from it the conclusion that the Secret of La Salette is prone to the same elastic interpretation. This is because, according to him, prophecies are necessarily ambiguous. For Fr. Corteville, they are confusing because they imply a symbolic and apocalyptic theology. Laurentin likes to qualify with melodramatic comments Father Combe's books (Diary over the last years of Mélanie; the Secret of Mélanie and the present crisis).
These reserves being said, it goes without saying that the Episcopal imprimatur given to the book of a well known Marian theologian who defends La Salette and its Secret will give a hard blow to the modernists, like Fathers Delehaye and Stern (p. 37), to the French episcopate in general, and particularly to the Fathers of Salette who cannot suffer the authentic Secret.
After the account of the apparition of September 19, 1846, this book presents to the general public the recent discovery of the Secrets of Mélanie and Maximin written for Pius LX in July 1851. Then, it presents the eight preserved writings of the Secret (three by Maximin, five by Mélanie) by explaining why it had to be gradually developed. Among them, the only writing which is presently untraceable is that of Mélanie written in 1861, but it is a tiny loss since we have the final and final Secret of Mélanie published in Lecce in 1879.
A whole chapter is dedicated to show the psychological and supernatural balance of the Seers, and particularly of Mélanie who has been dragged in the mud so much as to be finally rejected by French ecclesiastics. Was Mélanie a masochist? An egocentric person? Anti-Semite? Twenty one successive testimonies throw all the light wanted on the bitterly discussed question of Mélanie's stigmata.
Another part lets some famous defenders of La Salette speak out — Veuillot, Verlaine, Bloy, Maritain, Massignon, Claudel, Don Bosco, St John Mary Vianney, St Peter Julien Eymard, Popes Pius IX to Benedict XV.
The final chapter speaks of the Rule of the Order of the Mother of God. But of all chapters, the most enthralling, if not the most important, is that which offers an interpretation of the Secrets, and raises the discussed question of the coincidence of the Antichrist with the end of the world. Many documents coming in support of this powerful work, with a rich chronology of the facts, makes it possible to easily navigate in the history of La Salette.
2) The first two writings of the Secret of La Salette for Pope Pius IX
(July 3-6, 1851)
The two writings of July 1851 agree on the essential, but differ in their developments and even their tonality: the secret of Maximin is shorter, simpler, and less serious. Mélanie is concerned to be understood by the recipient, and 'not to cause him too much sorrow', as she said, but this did not prevent the tears of Bishop de Bruillard.
1. Maximin's Secret, July 3 1851
Maximin wrote his Secret at the bishop's palace, in front of Bishop de Bruillard's people, perfectly unconcerned, on July 3 in the evening. He was asked to rewrite it again because of spots of ink. The soiled autograph was burnt. Lastly, Mr. Dausse handed the Secret to Bishop de Bruillard, to be sure of its importance before affixing his own seal to it, and to send it to the pope. The sealed envelope was countersigned by two witnesses, at 7.00pm.
Maximin's original Secret.
Click to enlarge (80K)
In the thesis (of Fr. Corteville), the Secrets are published in a rigorously exact way, line by line, with the punctuation and spelling mistakes of the young shepherds, for who writing in French was an exploit. For this book intended for a large audience, we present the literal edition, but with the spelling, the punctuation and the lay-out which make it more readable.
Like all the prophecies, this one is a call to vigilance. It warns for the future, without satisfying curiosity. The seers interpret as they can the picturesque terms that they know not. They extrapolate, confuse the logical and temporal plans (like St Paul the Apostle in the epistle to the Thessalonians).
Le 19 septembre 1846, nous avons vu une belle Dame. Nous n'avons jamais dit que cette dame fut la Sainte Vierge mais nous avons toujours dit que c'était une belle Dame.
Je ne sais pas si c'est la Sainte Vierge ou une autre personne. Moi, je crois aujourd'hui que c'est la sainte Vierge.
Voila ce que cette Dame m'a dit:
"Si mon peuple continue, ce que je vais vous dire arrivera plus tôt , s'il change un peu, ce sera un peu plus tard.
La France a corrompu l'univers, un jour elle sera punie. La foi s'éteindra dans la France: trois parties de la France ne pratiqueront plus de religion, ou presque plus, 1'autre la pratiquera sans bien la pratiquer. Puis, après [cela], les nations se convertiront, la foi se rallumera partout.
Une grande contrée dans le nord de l'Europe, aujourd 'hui protestante, se convertira: par l'appui de cette contrée toutes les autres contrées du monde se convertiront.
Avant que tout cela arrive, de grands troubles arriveront, dans l'Eglise, et partout. Puis, après [cela], notre Saint-Père le pape sera persecuté. Son successeur sera un pontife que personne [n'] attend.
Puis après [cela], une grande paix arrivera, mais elle ne durera pas longtemps. Un monstre viendra la troubler.
Tout ce que je vous dis là arrivera dans l'autre siècle, [au] plus tard aux deux millle ans."
(Elle [m'] a dit de le dire quelque temps avant).
Mon très Saint Père, votre sainte bénédiction à une de vos brebis,
Grenoble, le 3 juillet 1851.
On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady.
I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:
"If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later.
France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.
Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.
Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.
All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."
(She told me to say it some time before.)
My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.
Grenoble, July 3,1851.
Mélanie's original Secrets.
Click to enlarge (80K)
2. Mélanie's Secret, July 6,1851
She wrote the Secret a first time, on July 3, in Corenc, at the Sisters of Providence. She sealed it at 10.00 am, and it was carried at the Bishop's House. The following day, she said she had not expressed herself well on the misfortunes which were to befall to two cities (Paris and Marseilles): they appeared simultaneous, whereas they were successive. Canon Rousselot made her rewrite her Secret, on July 6, then the engineer Dausse led her to the Bishop's House, where Bishop of Bruillard read the document before sealing it.
secret que m'a donné la Sainte Vierge sur la Montagne de la Salette le 19 septembre 1846
Mélanie, je vais vous dire quelque chose que vous ne direz à personne:
Le temps de la colère de Dieu est arrivé!
Si, lorsque vous aurez dit aux peuples ce que je vous ai dit tout à 1'heure, et ce que je vous dirai de dire encore, si, après cela, ils ne se convertissent pas, (si on ne fait pas pénitence, et si on ne cesse de travailler le dimanche, et si on continue de blasphémer le Saint Nom de Dieu), en un mot, si la face de la terre ne change pas, Dieu va se venger contre le peuple ingrat et esclave du démon.
Mon Fils va faire éclater sa puissance! Paris, cette ville souillée de toutes sortes de crimes, périra infailliblement. Marseille sera détruite en peu de temps. Lorsque ces choses arriveront, le désordre sera complet sur la terre. Le monde s'abandonnera à ses passions impies.
Le pape sera persecuté de toutes parts: on lui tirera dessus, on voudra le mettre à mort, mais on ne lui pourra rien, le Vicaire de Dieu triomphera encore cette fois[-là].
Les prêtres et les religieuses, et les vrais serviteurs de mon Fils seront persécutés, et plusieurs mourront pour la foi de Jésus-Christ.
Une famine règnera en même temps.
Après que toutes ces choses seront arrivées, beaucoup de personnes reconnaîtront la main de Dieu sur elles, se convertiront, et feront pénitence de leur péchés.
Un grand roi montera sur le trône, et règnera pendant quelques années. La religion refleurira et s'étendra par toute la terre et la fertilité sera grande, le monde content de ne manquer de rien recommencera ses désordres, abandonnera Dieu, et se livrera à ses passions criminelles.
[Parmi] les ministres de Dieu, et les Epouses de Jésus-Christ, il y en a qui se livreront au désordre, et c'est ce qu’il y aura de [plus] terrible.
Enfin, un enfer règnera sur la terre. Ce sera alors que l’Antéchrist naîtra d'une religieuse: mais malheur à elle! Beaucoup de personnes croiront à lui, parce qu'il se dira venu du ciel, malheur à ceux qui le croiront!
Le temps n'est pas éloigné, il ne se passera pas deux fois 50 ans.
Mon enfant, vous ne direz pas ce que je viens de vous dire. (Vous ne le direz à personne, vous ne direz pas si vous devez le dire un jour, vous ne direz pas ce que cela regarde), enfin vous ne direz plus rien jusqu’à ce que je vous dise de le dire!
Je prie Notre Saint Père le Pape de me donner sa sainte bénédiction.
Mélanie Mathieu, bergère de La Salette
Grenoble 6 juillet 1851
secret which the Blessed Virgin gave me on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846
Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:
The time of the God's wrath has arrived!
If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon.
My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.
The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will not be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.
The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ.
A famine will reign at the same time.
After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.
A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.
[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible.
Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him!
That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.
My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it!
I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.
Mélanie Mathieu, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851.
(From Découverte du secret de La Salette, R. Laurentin et M. Corteville, Fayard, 2002, pp. 46-49)