The Real Third SecretLoss of Faith
In 1984 Bishop Alberto Cosme do Amaral of Fatima confirmed that the Third Secret of Fatima is not about atomic war or the end of the world, but instead concerns the Catholic Faith, and specifically the loss of that Faith throughout (at least) Europe. (See quote in "Published Testimony: The Bishop of Fatima (September 10, 1984)".)
In her third memoir, which she completed in August 1941, Sister Lucy stated that the Secret of Fatima is divided into three distinct parts, after which she recorded, for the first time, the first two parts of the Secret. She wrote, "The Secret is made up of three distinct parts, two of which I am now going to reveal."1 She felt that "the moment had come to reveal the first two parts of the Secret."2 However, she kept silent on the third part of the Secret, since she had not received Heaven’s permission to reveal it.
In her fourth memoir, which was written from October-December 1941, Sister Lucy copied the first two parts of the Secret from the text of her third memoir, but added a sentence that is not found there. Sister Lucy gave us the first sentence of the Third Secret when she inserted into her fourth memoir the phrase "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc." This sentence had not appeared in her previous memoir. Sister Lucy purposely inserted it into her fourth memoir to indicate to us what the final part of the Secret is about.
In 1943, after having been asked by Bishop da Silva to write down the text of the Third Secret, Sister Lucy was finding the task difficult. She declared to the bishop that it was not absolutely necessary to write out the text, "since in a certain manner she had said it." Sister Lucy was very likely referring to the additional phrase she had inserted into her fourth memoir, "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc."
The phrase, "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc." is a promise that the true Faith will be preserved in that country, although in its vagueness it does not state by whom. Yet, if in Portugal the true Faith will be preserved, what does that imply about the rest of the world? The Portuguese Father Messias de Coelho concluded that, "this allusion, so positive about what will happen among us, suggests to us that it will be different around us. …"
Father Alonso, the official Fatima archivist had this to say on the Third Secret:
‘In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved’: The phrase most clearly implies a critical state of Faith, which other nations will suffer, that is to say, a crisis of Faith; whereas Portugal will preserve its Faith.3Knowledgeable Church authorities have confirmed Father Alonso’s conclusions about the Third Secret, that it concerns an unprecedented loss of faith, an apostasy, from which Portugal will be preserved. In 1984 the Bishop of Fatima said, "the loss of Faith of a continent is worse than the annihilation of a nation; and it is true that Faith is continuously diminishing in Europe." And in his 1984 interview with Vittorio Messori, Cardinal Ratzinger confirmed this conclusion when he said that the final part of the Secret speaks of "dangers threatening the faith and life of Christians, and therefore the world."
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.4
Thus it is quite possible that in this intermediate period which is in question (after 1960 and before the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), the text makes concrete references to the crisis of the Faith of the Church and to the negligence of the pastors themselves.5
One conclusion does indeed seem to be beyond question: the content of the unpublished part of the Secret does not refer to new wars or political upheavals, but to happenings of a religious and intra-Church character, which of their nature are still more grave.6
Finally, we know that the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Third Secret began to be realized in 1960 because when Sister Lucy was asked why the Third Secret was to be revealed no later than 1960, she responded "because it will be clearer then." Since 1960 we have seen the prophecy of the Third Secret unfold before our eyes, and it is clear that since that time the world has been progressively suffering from a terrible loss of faith.
In his 1976 book, The Secret of Fatima: Fact and Legend, Father Alonso added to his hypothesis that the Third Secret concerns the crisis of Faith within the Church, the belief that it also speaks of the negligence of the pastors, especially within the upper hierarchy. "It is therefore completely probable," he said, "that the text (of the Third Secret) makes concrete references to the crisis of faith within the Church and to the negligence of the pastors themselves." He also speaks of "internal struggles in the very bosom of the Church and of grave pastoral negligence by the upper hierarchy," and "deficiencies of the upper hierarchy of the Church."
Father Alonso also said:
... Does the unpublished text speak of concrete circumstances? 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 La Salette 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.7Besides Sister Lucy, Father Alonso was the foremost authority on Fatima. He had met with Sister Lucy often, and had questioned her while working on his critical study of Fatima. Therefore, before making such bold suggestions about the content of the Third Secret, it is certain that Father Alonso would have beforehand consulted Sister Lucy. And if Father Alonso had been mistaken in his conclusions, it is certain that Sister Lucy would have informed him of this fact, since she had never hesitated to correct other statements by clerics and various authors concerning Fatima when they were in error.
In June of 1943 Sister Lucy became seriously ill with pleurisy, which caused Canon Galamba and Bishop da Silva to fear that she would die without having revealed the final Secret. Canon Galamba later convinced Bishop da Silva to suggest that Sister Lucy write down the Third Secret. However, Sister Lucy was unable to take the step of committing the Third Secret of Fatima to paper based on the bishop’s mere suggestion. The absence of an explicit order from the bishop troubled her deeply, and Lucy did not wish to take responsibility for the initiative.
In mid-October 1943, Bishop da Silva finally gave Sister Lucy the formal order to write down the Third Secret. Lucy attempted to obey the bishop’s command, but was unable to do so for the next two and a half months. From mid-October 1943 to early January 1944, Sister Lucy was prevented from obeying a formal order to write down the Third Secret by an unspeakable anguish that she experienced. Finally, on January 2, 1944 Our Lady appeared to her to give her strength and confirm that it was the will of God that she write it down. It was only then that Sister Lucy was able to reveal the final part of the Secret. In addressing this difficulty, Father Alonso asks,
Moreover, how are we to understand Lucy’s great difficulty in writing the final part of the Secret when she has already written other things that were extremely difficult to put down? Had it been merely a matter of prophesying new and severe punishments, Sister Lucy would not have experienced difficulties so great that a special intervention from Heaven was needed to overcome them. But if it were a matter of internal strife within the Church and of serious pastoral negligence on the part of high-ranking members of the hierarchy, we can understand how Lucy experienced a repugnance that was almost impossible to overcome by natural means.8Decisive Battle Between Our Lady and the Devil
In her 1957 interview with Father Fuentes, Sister Lucy spoke of a decisive battle between the Blessed Virgin and the devil. Though not as evident as the above-mentioned crisis of Faith and pastoral negligence, this third theme frequently appears in the communications of Sister Lucy. Yet what does she mean by "decisive battle"?
In her interview with Father Fuentes, Sister Lucy discusses this theme, saying:
"Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin, and the devil knows what it is that most offends God, and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way the devil will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.
"Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons. The first reason is because She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Hence from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil; there is no other possibility.
"The second reason is because She said to my cousins as well as to myself, that God is giving two last remedies to the world. They are the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the last two remedies which signify that there will be no others.
"The third reason is because in the plans of Divine Providence, God always, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies. Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever then, as we say in our imperfect manner of speaking, He offers us with a certain trepidation the last means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother. It is with a certain trepidation because if you despise and reject this ultimate means, we will not have any more forgiveness from Heaven, because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the sin against the Holy Ghost. This sin consists of openly rejecting, with full knowledge and consent, the salvation which He offers. Let us remember that Jesus Christ is a very good Son and that He does not permit that we offend and despise His Most Holy Mother. We have recorded through many centuries of Church history the obvious testimony which demonstrates by the terrible chastisements which have befallen those who have attacked the honor of His Most Holy Mother, how Our Lord Jesus Christ has always defended the honor of His Mother.
"The two means for saving the world are prayer and sacrifice. [Regarding the Holy Rosary, Sister Lucy said:] Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.
"Finally, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and as the sure door of entering Heaven."
Father Alonso stated that the texts of Father Fuentes’ interview "do not say anything that Sister Lucy has not said in her numerous writings delivered to the public." In further writings, Sister Lucy spoke of the diabolical campaign being waged. In a letter to her friend Mother Martins, after discussing devotion to the Rosary, she writes: "That is why the devil has waged such a war against it! And the worst is that he has succeeded in leading into error and deceiving souls having a heavy responsibility through the place which they occupy ...! They are blind men guiding other blind men. …"
The following year Sister Lucy wrote again to Mother Martins:
Thus the little pamphlets [referring to a text on the Rosary composed by Sister Lucy] will remain with souls, as an echo of Our Lady’s voice, to remind them of the insistence with which She recommended the prayer of the Rosary to us, so many times. It is because She already knew that there had to come these times, during which the devil and his supporters would fight so much against this prayer, to lead souls away from God. And without God, who shall be saved?! For this reason we must do everything in our power to lead souls back to God.9Finally, in a letter to Don Umberto Pasquale, who was very devoted to the cause of Fatima, Sister Lucy wrote:
... The decadence which exists in the world is without any doubt the consequence of the lack of the spirit of prayer. Foreseeing this disorientation, the Blessed Virgin recommended recitation of the Rosary with such insistence. And since the Rosary is, after the holy Eucharistic liturgy, the prayer most apt for preserving faith in souls, the devil has unchained his struggles against it. Unfortunately, we see the disasters he has caused.The theme repeated again and again in these letters is that we are in the last times and that the devil has therefore begun his last and most virulent battle for souls. And, as Sister Lucy explained to Father Fuentes, God has given us "the last means of salvation, His Holy Mother." Therefore She is engaged in this battle. The Blessed Virgin came to Fatima to give a warning and the remedy beforehand.
... We must defend souls against the errors which can make them stray from the good road. ... We cannot and we must not stop ourselves, nor allow, as Our Lord says, the children of Darkness to be wiser than the children of Light ... The Rosary is the most powerful weapon for defending ourselves on the field of battle.10
1. Documentos, p. 219.
2. From Sister Lucy’s letter to Father Gonçalves, August 31, 1941. Documentos, p. 445.
3. Father Joaquim Alonso, La Verdad sobre el Secreto de Fátima (English version), p. 70; taken from Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III: The Third Secret, p. 687.
4. Father Alonso, p. 80; Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p. 687.
5. Father Alonso, p.80; Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p. 687.
6. Father Alonso, p. 81; Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p.687.
7. Father Alonso, p. 80; Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p. 705.
8. Father Alonso, p. 82; Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p. 707.
9. Uma Vida, pp. 390-91. Quoted in Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III: The Third Secret, (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1989) pp. 758-59.
10. Quoted by L’Osservatore Romano in 1984, under the title Il Rosario è l’arma potente che ci difende nella battaglia. Quoted in Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III: The Third Secret, (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1989) p. 759.