Cardinal Ratzinger on the Third Secret
In November, 1984, an account appeared in an Italian review granted in August by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to journalist Vittorio Messori. In this long article entitled, "Here is Why the Faith is in Crisis", and important section was devoted to Fatima and its third Secret.
A few years ago, this interview of the Cardinal with the Italian journalist appeared in book form, after having been changed and rearranged. The few pages devoted to the secret of Fatima were profoundly modified.
Web Master's Note: Identical passages in the two versions are in red text. Passages in the first version but suppressed in the second are capitalized. Given here is only the November 11, 1984 version of Cardinal Ratzinger's published remarks --- followed by Frére Michel's analysis of both versions.
NOVEMBER, 1984, VERSION
THE MADONNA AS DEFENSE OF THE FAITH, WHY IT IS NECESSARY TO TURN TO MARY
"YES I HAVE READ IT"
One of the four sections of the Congregations is entrusted with the task of judging Marian apparitions.
Cardinal Ratzinger, have you read the so-called 'third Secret of Fatima', which Sister Lucy forwarded to pope John, who didn't want to reveal it, and ordered it to be deposited in the archives?
Yes, I have read it.
WHY HASN'T THE SECRET BEEN REVEALED?
Why hasn't been revealed?
1. IT WOULD ADD NOTHING
Because, according to the judgment of the Popes. it would add nothing to what a Christian must know from Revelation: a radical call to conversion, the absolute seriousness of history, THE DANGERS THREATENING THE FAITH AND LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN, AND THEREFORE THE WORLD, AND ALSO THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LAST TIMES.
2. THE DANGER OF SENSATIONALISM
If it is not published --- at least for the moment --- it is to avoid confusing RELIGIOUS PROPHECY with sensationalism. BUT THE THINGS CONTAINED IN THIS THIRD SECRET CORRESPOND TO WHAT IS ANNOUNCED IN SCRIPTURE and are confirmed by many other Marian apparitions, beginning with the Fatima apparitions themselves in their known contents. Conversion, penance, are essential conditions of salvation.
I. The Reasons For Non-Publication:
Two Inconsistent Pretexts
Why hasn't the third Secret been revealed? To this question, the Cardinal's reply has not varied ---- and it is disappointing. In effect Cardinal Ratzinger gives us two reasons for this non-publication, each one as insignificant as the other. Besides that, they are contradictory.
A Secret Which Would Tell Us Nothing
The Holy Father deems (thus it is John Paul II's personal opinion expressed here by the Cardinal) that it would add nothing to what a Christian must know from Revelation and also from the Marian apparitions approved by the Church in their known contents, which only reconfirmed the urgency of penance, conversion, forgiveness, fasting.
Unbelievable! The final Secret of Our Lady of Fatima would tell us nothing new which we didn't already know ... And this is the reason why for almost thirty years, the Popes obstinately refuse to divulge it? Would then this message of the Blessed Virgin, which according to Her express will ought to have been revealed in 1960, be useless and superfluous, in contrast with the rest of the message, which is undeniably significant and urgent?
It is unthinkable, and one is astonished that a Cardinal of Holy Church dares to advance such a ludicrous argument in the Pope's name. Unless, that is, the Cardinal only meant to say that the things contained in this third Secret correspond, are in harmony, in perfect coherence with the elements of Revelation and with the messages of other authentic Marian apparitions. But in this case, it is one more reason, and a very weighty one, to make it known to the faithful!
The Danger of Sensationalism
To avoid confusing religious prophecy with sensationalism, to avoid the danger of sensationalism, exploitation of the content ---- here we have the second motive which would justify non-publication of the Secret!
This time, the argument is completely incredible. Our Father highlighted the fact in his "Open Letter to Cardinal Ratzinger" in January, 1985: How could a "religious prophecy" which is colorless, odorless and without any particular savor give rise to "sensationalism"? And if this Secret adds nothing new, why hide it for the last thirty-five years! If it is from Heaven, how could it be inconsistent, or useless, or inopportune?! Why have they taken the indefensible position ---- and in the long run, the untenable, scandalous, and criminal position! ---- of cunningly refusing it to us, of wanting to make it be forgotten by the world, and recently again after the sign of May 13, 1981! And again during the pilgrimage to Fatima of May 13, 1982? If not because this third Secret carries, in twenty lines of a tiny school notebook, a condemnation and nullification of everything which has happened in the Church since 1960 ...?
Insignificant, this Heavenly Secret? Come now! Sensational is pejorative, and is not any more fitting. "Apocalyptic" is the only just term. We know it from the source: it reveals this part of the Apocalypse which must come in our time.
Yes, it is certain: because the great Fatima prophecy announces not only the crisis of the Faith which has come since 1960, but also the deficiencies of the highest members of the hierarchy, and because it denounces ---- in a more or less explicit manner, but sufficiently clearly ----the "great conciliar orientations" which have opened the Church to apostasy, as long as the Popes want to continue governing the Church in the spirit of the Council ---- exalting religious liberty, this abominable heresy, ecumenism, the ideals of 1789 and the cult of man ---- they can never reveal to the world the words of the Queen of Heaven, which condemn them.
The modifications brought by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the first version of his interview are, on this precise point, highly significant.
II. The Contents of The Third Secret: the Truth Betrayed
Indeed in November, 1984, undoubtedly still impressed by the reading of the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger, while striving ---- quite clumsily! ---- to justify non-publication, nevertheless gave a glimpse of important truths concerning its content. We have already said that while explaining that according to the judgment of the Popes, it (the third Secret) would add nothing to what a Christian must know from Revelation, he indicated four important themes of this Revelation, which also belong to the Fatima message. But in this enumeration, every informed reader can easily discern what corresponds to the already known message: a radical call to conversion, this is the essence of the public message, and equally of the first Secret; the absolute seriousness of history, this is the content of the second Secret; and finally, what undoubtedly expressed the essential and specific themes of the third Secret: The dangers threatening the faith and life of the Christian, and therefore the world. And also the importance of the "last times". Further on, the Cardinal pointed out still another positive element of the final Secret: But the things contained in this third Secret correspond to what is announced in Scripture ... Earlier, on the subject of the Secret, he had employed the expression religious prophecy. This was telling us that it really is a prophecy ---- which we know through other channels ---- and that it corresponds to those of Holy Scripture.
Although bound together in an enumeration which may seem banal, several important themes of the Third Secret were thus explicitly mentioned by the Cardinal.
Now if we reread the "augmented version", the Cardinal has carefully erased ---- and surely not for lack of space! ---- these few precise elements which informed us of the true content of the Secret: The dangers threatening the faith ... have vanished. The importance of the last times has equally disappeared. The concordance of the prophecies of the Third Secret with those of Scripture is no longer mentioned.
But above all, the Cardinal saw fit to modify the context in which he spoke about Fatima, from beginning to end. It is as if, in a first movement of frankness and loyalty, he had already said far too much, infringing the law of silence ---- not to say dissimulation and lying ---- which the Popes have imposed on Rome since 1960, regarding this terrible Secret which burns them up.
Six months previously, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had taken up the question of the Third Secret in an article entitled: Here is Why the Faith is in Crisis. The section devoted to the Secret bore the double title: The Madonna as Defense of the Faith. Why it is Necessary to Turn to Mary. And he began this way:
If the discourse on Mary has always been essential to the Christian faith, today it is indispensable and urgent, perhaps more than at any other period in the Church's history. At the beginning of the Council (Cardinal Ratzinger confided), I didn't at all understand certain ancient formulas, such as "Mary is the enemy of all heresies". Others, such as de Maria, numquam satis (about Mary, one can never say enough) seemed excessive to me. As the situation changed during the Council and after, and as I went I deeper into this theme, I had to change my mind ...
Our Father commented, in his Letter to the Cardinal:
Astonishing words, which you go on to justify luminously. All the great dogmas of our Faith are so closely connected with the glories and privileges of Mary that to believe in the latter is to avoid all error on the former. The two most ancient dogmas, the Perpetual Virginity and Divine Maternity of Mary, but also the two most recent ones, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, practically secure faith in Jesus the Man-God, and preserve the privileges of the all-powerful Father, Who can intervene in matter itself, etc. One recognizes your present preoccupations touching the Faith: they have led you to consider faith in Mary quite simply as the defense of the Faith. As indeed it is!
You equally consider with favor Marian devotion, if it is correct, so that it may guarantee for the Faith its dimension of the heart, using "heart" the way Pascal meant it. It reconciles reason with feeling. And also, you add, it corresponds to the expectations of modern women confronted with a certain feminism, showing them the feminine dimension of their profound nature, illumined and given singular worth by the virginity and maternity of Mary.
The true devotees of Our Lady will find these theological considerations a little dry. They would be wrong to consider them superfluous.
In this context, where it is above all a question of the Faith, Fatima had been evoked. And the Blessed Virgin was proposed ---- along the very lines of the third Secret, we might add ---- as the remedy for the present crisis of the Faith.
Curiously, very curiously, in the new version Fatima is dealt with in the chapter entitled: Women, A Woman. The Blessed Virgin is now presented as the remedy ... for the problems of women! It is a question of the ordination of women, the "banalization" of sex, "feminism in the convent" and Sisters who go now to psychoanalysis instead of confessors, the dizzying drop in women's religious vocations, the aggiomamento of religious life, and we come to ... A remedy: Mary.
Then the Cardinal develops six reasons for not forgetting, before finally reaching the three pages on Fatima. These pages are placed under an innocuous title, which leaves no opportunity for any sensationalist interpretation: Fatima and environs.
There is at least a change of perspective here, and a series of retouches was given to the first exposition. One easily guesses the hidden reason, while still deploring it ...
The Cardinal Had Said Too Much!
No doubt there was scant appreciation at Rome for the obvious interpretation of the Cardinal's original statements, expressed in all clarity by our Father in his "Open Letter", which he addressed to Cardinal Ratzinger in January, 1985: We are immensely grateful to you for having been the first to thus reveal to us con franchezza ---- at least as far as permitted by the reserve demanded by your high functions, which obliges you to guard them ---- these things which had always been hidden from us. And even after Father Alonso, and we for our part, had guessed them, discovered and published them, they had been obstinately denied and negated! Thus this Secret exists, you have read it, the Popes have judged that it adds nothing new, you repeat this judgment without making it your own. And while we were misled about its contents, you find words so precise and placed in an order such that, for the specialists, it is just as if you wanted to let them know that they are not mistaken. Father Alonso was right, we are right: the Secret is not "strictly reserved to the Holy Father" (Declaration of Cardinal Ottaviani, February 11, 1967), it does not just concern Portugal (the thesis of Father G. Freire) ... I will spell it out: "We are running out of time, if we are not converted soon, we will fall into apostasy and we will die in terrible chastisements, which will already be among these cataclysms, wars, famines, and persecutions which the holy Books announce for the coming of the End of time."
Here is news given for the first time by an authoritative person, of prodigious interest. Your Eminence has read the final Secret, the only secret at present which has an absolute, vital importance for the Church and for the whole world, involving simultaneously the temporal and eternal salvation of all. I am sure that it was reading this extraordinary Secret which changed your way of seeing the state of the Church and the world, and gave you the strength of soul to utter this great cry of alarm, this dossier on the crisis of the faith ... Continuing your revelations, you say: "If it is not published, at least for the moment" (almeno per ora. Oh, how this phrase makes our hearts tremble with a wonderful hope!) ...
And thus we are heading towards the time of its indispensable revelation to the world. You are intimately persuaded of it, are you not? It must be published, this Secret coming from Heaven as a last act of mercy, a final prayer to men to be converted!
Well, no! Six months later, Rome closed the door again ---- inexorably: ---- to this great hope. It is necessary to continue being silent, to dissimulate, even to lie ---- but at no price are the Faithful allowed to guess the words of their Heavenly Mother, which are absolutely not in accord with the new language used by their Popes and reformer bishops for over thirty years!
Alas! It seems that everything which the Cardinal ---- entrusted above all with the safeguarding of the Faith ---- decided to add in his book to his previous exposition on Fatima tends only to this purpose: to mislead, to deceive his readers on the authentic contents of the Third Secret and, to distract their attention from the prophecy concerning precisely the loss of Faith, which it is his duty to remedy!
(1) Ecco perche la fede e in crisi in the review Jesus, p. 79.
(2) The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, 1985.
(4) The subtitles in the center have been added by us.
(5) CRC 207, January 1985, p. 12.
(6) CRC 207, January 1985, p. 11-12.
(7) Ratzinger Report, P. 93.
(8) Ibid, P. 104.
(9) CRC 207, January 1985, p. 12.