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THE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA: WHAT THE POPE ISN'T TELLING by Lucio Brunelli (Mary, the mother of God, allegedly appeared to three Portuguese children in 1917. She made various predictions and requests, and gave the children a Third Secret. This Third Secret was delivered to the Pope in 1957, to be released to the world in 1960. The secret was never revealed. The article below contains the speculations of a cardinal as to what the secret may be about. It first appeared in "Il Sabato" magazine, Rome, Italy, on March 17, 1990. It was subsequently published by "The Fatima Crusader" in the United States.) By now everyone acknowledges that Cardinal Silvio Oddi has one virtue that is extremely rare in the present-day ecclesiastical environment: the frankness and freedom with which he states his views. The interview which follows is one more proof of this. it has for its theme one of the enigmas that during this century has most moved the collective religious imagination: the Third Secret of Fatima. It is a matter which took on contemporary relevance again last month, following the publication in "30 Days" of a letter from Sister Lucia, one of the three visionaries to whom the Mother of God appeared on May 13, 1917. Referring to the upheavals in eastern Europe, the Portuguese nun wrote: "I believe it is an action of God in the world from the danger of an atomic war that could destroy it." Many have seen in these words the confirmation that the Third Secret has something to do with the current developments in the USSR, as if the Virgin Mary had prophesied and mysteriously guided Gorbachev's plan of perestroika. This view has ended in attributing to these political events the miraculous character of a spiritual and religious rebirth. ARE YOU ALSO OF THIS OPINION? Cardinal Silvio Oddi: No, on the contrary, I remain very skeptical. I believe I knew [Pope] John XXIII quite well, since I spent a number of years at his side when he was at the nunciature in Paris. If the Secret had concerned realities consoling for the Church, like the conversion of Russia, of the religious rebirth of eastern Europe, I believe that he would have brought pressure to bear to make the Secret public. By temperament he did not hesitate to communicate joyful things (it has been revealed that Cardinal Roncalli in a number of letters to friends practically announced his election to the papacy.) But when I asked him during an audience why in 1960, when the obligation to keep the Secret secret had come to an end, he had not made public the last part of the message of Fatima, he responded with a weary sigh. He then said: "Don't bring that subject up with me, please. . ." DID YOU EVER SPEAK WITH SISTER LUCIA? Cardinal Oddi: Yes, in 1985. I had gone to Portugal to celebrate solemnly the anniversary of the apparitions, and I did not resist the desire to exchange a few words with her. Obviously I did not ask her to reveal the secret to me but I asked her if she was aware of the reason why the Church had decided not to make it public. AND SISTER LUCIA, WHAT DID SHE SAY? Cardinal Oddi: She said that in May 1982 she had spoken about it with [Pope] John Paul II, who had made a pilgrimage to Fatima to render thanks to OUr Lady a year after the attempted assasination in St. Peter's Square. Together they had decided that it was more opportune not to reveal the Secret. For fear, she explained to me, that it might be "misinterpreted." The same explanation, I am told, was given by the Holy Father during his visit to Germany. This attitude of the Church reinforced in me a theory that I had had for a number of years . . . AND WHAT IS THAT? Cardinal Oddi: What happened in 1960 that might have been seen in connection with the Secret of Fatima? The most important event is without a doubt the launching of the preparatory phase of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore I would not be surprised if the Secret had something to do with the convocation of Vatican II. . . WHY DO YOU SAY THAT? Cardinal Oddi: From the attitude Pope John showed during our conversation, I deduced--but it is only a hypothesis--that the Secret might contain a part that could have a rather unpleasant ring to it. John XXIII had convened the Council with the precise intention of directing the force of the Church toward the solution of the problems that concern all of humanity, beginning from within. That is, he intended the work to begin with the evangelical perfection pursued by consecrated persons . . . But we all know that, despite the great merits of the Council, many sad things have also taken place. These sad things are not due to the Council, but they took place in conjunction with the Council. I am thinking, for example, of the number of priests who have abandoned the priesthood: it is said that there have been 80,000. But one only has to recall the anguish with which the Holy Father [Pope] Paul VI in 1968 cried out against the "autodemolition" taking place in the Church . . . Or his dramatic homily on June 29, 1972: "We believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness . . . And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil." And again: "It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of satan has entered the temple of God." AND WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF ALL THIS? Cardinal Oddi: This: that I would not be surprised if the Third Secret alluded to dark times for the Church: grave confusions and troubling apostasies within Catholicism itself. . . If we consider the grave crisis we have lived through since the Council, the signs that this prophecy has been fulfilled do not seem to be lacking . . . BUT THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY THAT THE POPE TRULY DOES SEE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MYSTERY OF FATIMA AND THE CHANGES OCCURRING IN RUSSIA . . . Cardinal Oddi: We know that the question has been put, in private, to John Paul II. In one case, he limited himself to a smile; in the other, he gave an answer that does not permit one to draw a clear conclusion. (Further information regarding Fatima can be obtained from "The Fatima Crusader" at 800 263-8160.) END OF FILE Mary had prophesied and


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