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A Book Review… A Non-Polemical Study The Third Secret Of Fatima

July 20, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, by Kevin Symonds (En Route Books and Media, 2017, 582 pages, $35.00 paperback, $10.05 Kindle).

On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima is a quite comprehensive treatment of this difficult subject, and one based on extensive documentation and copious footnotes.
Some people might find that off-putting, but it is worth persevering with this book because it breaks significant new ground with regard to the third part of the secret of Fatima, a subject over which conspiracy theorists have burned much midnight oil.
The Secret as a whole was given to the Fatima seers during the July 1917 apparition. The first part was the terrifying vision of Hell they experienced for just a moment — the context for that was that the children had been promised they would go to Heaven.
The second part of the secret concerned the warning given by our Lady about the outbreak of World War II, and how Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. Her remedy for these things was the consecration of that country to her Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
She also promised that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph and a period of peace would be given to the world.
Then came the third part of the secret, which was written down by Sr. Lucia in January 1944, taken to Rome in 1957, and only finally revealed in the year 2000 at the behest of Pope John Paul II.
This was a vision seen by the seers in which a “bishop dressed in white” — taken to be the Pope — struggled up a mountain through a half-ruined city, followed by numerous Catholics of all ranks. At the top of the mountain was a rough wooden cross, and here the Pope and his followers were all killed.
This vision was explained in the year 2000 as symbolic of the sufferings undergone by the Church during the 20th century in particular.
In On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, the author discusses the meaning of the phrase, “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved,” which is found at the end of the second part of the secret in the fourth memoir, but is omitted in the third memoir. The crucial question is: Is this phrase the end of the second part of the secret or the beginning of the third?
A lot hangs on that question. Those who believe that the full text of the secret hasn’t yet been revealed, and thus that the third part of the secret refers to apostasy in the Church, or nuclear war, etc., rather than persecutions, have seized on this phrase in support of their view. This attitude is characterized by Symonds as a “hermeneutic of suspicions and conspiracy.”
This is the approach found among the writings of people such as the Abbé George de Nantes, founder of “League of Catholic Counter-Reform,” Frère Michel of the Holy Trinity, and the late Fr. Nicholas Gruner.
But as Symonds demonstrates, it is perfectly plausible to regard it as the end of the second part of the secret, and thus not an indication of the tone or content of the third part of the secret.
One of the important claims made by Frère Michel, a French writer, who was responsible for the multi-volume, The Whole Truth About Fatima, was that the third part of the secret comprised only about 20-25 lines, whereas the text released by the Vatican in 2000 had 62 lines, leading to speculation about other texts which were not being revealed.
However it seems that this figure of 20-25 lines comes from Frère Michel himself rather being a figure based on any solid evidence. It seems he based this idea on the comments by Bishop Venation of Leiria-Fatima, the successor to Bishop Correia da Silva, who had seen the secret within its envelope and described the whole as being “small.” This idea of a 20-25 lines secret has been widely broadcast by enthusiasts for a cover-up.
In fact, in 2007, Cardinal Bertone, who has had an important part to play regarding the third part of the secret, revealed on Italian television the envelope holding the secret and the secret itself. It was a single sheet of paper but had been folded over into squares. This explains how it can be regarded as having been small but at the same time comprise 62 lines of text.
Regarding the content of the third part of the secret, it is worth noting that Cardinal Ottaviani, who had read it, said in 1967, in Rome, that it actually referred to the Pope, rather than that it was addressed to him — which again backs up the version which was revealed by the Vatican in 2000.
And in fact the actual content of the third part of the secret makes it understandable why it wasn’t revealed in 1960, which was widely expected at the time. Clearly the account of a future Pope being killed could have led to all sorts of complications for the Church, and even more conspiracy theories, or even attempts on the life of the Pope. Thus it wasn’t revealed until after the assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II on May 13, 1981.
Much has been made of an interview between Sr. Lucia and the Mexican priest, Fr. Agustin Fuentes, in December 1957, and the claims he later made about this interview, which touched on the third part of the secret which he described in apocalyptic terms. It appears though that the text of this interview, as published in English, was somewhat embellished.
And even before that, in his commentary on the third part of the secret, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said that it was being revealed “in its entirety,” which ought to have been enough for the critics.
One point which the author doesn’t cover, but which would have added weight to his conclusions, concerns the two visions of a future Pope seen by Jacinta alone, and which are recounted in Sr. Lucia’s Third Memoir. In one of these she saw the Pope praying in a big house while outside an angry mob was protesting, and in the other she saw refugees with nothing to eat and the Pope in prayer in a church with many people.
In both cases Sr. Lucia specifically relates these visions to the secret, which adds weight to the position that the complete text of the secret was in fact revealed in 2000, since these two extra visions clearly have themes relating to persecutions and the papacy.
This book is not light reading, and does require concentration and the ability to follow an often complex series of arguments, but for anyone interested in this subject, it will be essential reading.
In sum, the author has very diligently and painstaking gone over the texts and literature relevant to the third part of the secret and in doing do has undoubtedly rendered an important service to the Church, and moreover he has done this in a very charitable and non-polemical way.

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(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also a written two time-travel/adventure books for young people — details can be found at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk/.)

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