Introductory RemarksThe visionary events took place during the summer months of 1917 while three young shepherd children were tending their flocks near Fatima, Portugal, a small town 90 miles north of Lisbon. Francisco and Jacinta Marto were cousins of Lucy dos Santos, born 1908, 1910, and 1907 respectively. The events always took place on the 13th day of each month, starting in May, and ending in October. (August was an exception. The local authorities, aware of the date of the 13th, confined the children to prevent further apparitions. The August apparition then took place on Sunday the 19th, see FLOW below, pg 104, note 25.) During the June 13, 1917 apparition Lucy was told: "In a short time I will take Francisco and Jacinta up to heaven with me. You, on the other hand, will remain on earth for a great many years to spread the devotion to my Immaculate Heart." This statement was reported immediately to their families. Francisco died in April 1919 as the result of weakness from influenza, and Jacinta in 1920. Pope John Paul II beatified the children in Fatima on Saturday, May 13, 2000.
A more complete account of the events, and how they unfolded into the 1917 visitations may be found in the memoirs of Lucy. Her letters and accounts show she is highly articulate. See Fatima in Lucy's Own Words, Sister Lucy's Memoirs, (FLOW) edited by Louis Kondor, with a translation from Lucy’s original manuscripts by the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, and introduction by Joaquin M. Alonso, Postulation Center, Fatima, Portugal, 1976. The book is divided into Four Memoirs, and two Appendices. The Memoirs were all addressed to Bishop Giuseppe (Jose) Alves Correia da Silva of the diocese of Leiria, 1920-1957.
On September 12, 1935 the body of Jacinta was exhumed for transfer to Fatima. Upon opening the lead sheath protecting her from the earth it was discovered that she had been exceptionally preserved. Photographs were given to Lucy. She was very surprised, and wrote a letter to Bishop da Silva expressing her joy. After reading this letter in which Lucy, in her holy affection for her cousin, let him glimpse the numerous memories she was able to recount, da Silva ordered the seer to write a biography of Jacinta. Lucy finished her account on Christmas day. This was her first Memoir. The second Memoir was written in November 1937, again at the request of the Bishop and Father Fonseca. The third was written in August 1941, again at the request of the Bishop, and to satisfy an anticipated visit of Canon José Galamba Oliveira, who had questions about Jacinta’s life. The Fourth Memoir was written shortly thereafter by personal order of the Bishop and Canon Galamba, who met directly with Lucy under a sense of urgency, requesting that she write a more full account of the 1917 events. She then followed this Memoir with two Notebooks, somewhat in haste. The first Notebook was sent to the Bishop on November 5, 1941, and the second on December 8, FLOW pg 120. The First and Second Fatima Secrets are contained in the Third and Fourth Memoirs, FLOW pgs 108 and 167. The Notebooks contained much of Lucy’s informal writings concerning her memories and thoughts on her experience. They may have contained the Third Secret but, if so, received no particular attention.
Meanwhile the fame of Fatima was spreading worldwide. Amidst the anguish and misfortunes of World War II, the significance of the message of Fatima was beginning to take hold of many people. Biographies of the seers, taking inspiration from the work of Canon Galamba, had a prodigious success in Europe and even beyond. A wonderful book by Canon Barthas, They Were Three Little Children, published in 1940, had a circulation of more than five hundred thousand in its French edition and was translated into twenty languages. Father Jongen’s work in Dutch, O. L. Vrouw van Fatima, Missionaris van God -- Our Lady of Fatima, God’s Missionaries, which contains a remarkable psychological analysis of the seers, reached one hundred thousand copies within two years, from 1944 to 1946.
On April 18, 1942, at the direction of Pope Pius XII, Cardinal (Many despised Schuster for his compromise with the dictatorship of Mussolini and his cooperation with Hitler’s Nazi forces.)Schuster of Milan, by a pastoral letter, authorized public disclosure of the First and Second Secret of Fatima. Father de Fonseca, Don Luigi Moresco, first Italian historian of Fatima, and Padre Liggeri, then published these in books.
A significant health problem occurred in 1943 when, at the age of thirty-six, Lucy contracted pleurisy. It is apparent from her letters at this time that Lucy thought she was dying. So did Bishop de Silva, who became greatly concerned because Lucy had not yet written down, as far as he knew, the Third Secret. This serious illness led Bishop da Silva to directly order Lucy to commit the Third Secret to writing in a separate dedicated document. After experiencing three months of intense inner turmoil, Lucia was still unable to write down the secret. This personal dilemma was resolved when she claimed she had another visionary experience on January 2, 1944. At that time “Our Lady” encouraged her to write down the Third Secret. Lucy finally did so in a letter to the Bishop of January 9, 1944, where she said, "...it is sealed in an envelope and it is in the notebooks . . ." Lucy thus showed that the "Third Secret of Fatima" was contained in two documents.
This remark by Lucy created intense speculation about the Third Secret. The Notebooks play a key role in this revelation of the Third Secret. They also would help confirm Lucy’s predictive remarks, and the problem of “ex post facto” prediction, statements made after the fact. Unfortunately, the Vatican will not release the materials for study, and we must infer content from remarks made by several Popes and Cardinals, and other members of the Vatican hierarchy, as well as surreptitious publication of some of the content. I shall discuss this complex situation in later Papers.
As summed up by Alonso on the Memoirs:
"This is certainly not the first manuscript we have from Sister Lucy's pen, but it is the first long document that she wrote. Previously, we have had letters, many letters in fact, interrogations, reports and so on; but now we have a long and important document before us . . ."
In 1966, in the aftermath of Vatican II, the current Bishop of Fatima, Mgr. Joao Venancio, recognized jeopardy to the Fatima record. He understood the necessity and urgency of protecting the authentic message against the perfidious attacks of the
Father Alonso died on December 12, 1981, leaving behind a definitive 24-volume work. All volumes remain unpublished to this day, except for the first two, because of an ecclesiastical ban by the Vatican. Those two were heavily edited before publication. The ban was the result of two concerns: first, the full truth about Fatima was counter to Church apostate policies; second, Lucy had set out on a program to quietly influence the Church in regard to the consecration of Russia, and devotion to the Fatima revelations. This activity had a potential to bring interference in Vatican policies. Publication of the work of Alonso, with a compilation of Lucy’s letters, would have exposed this danger.
Recently, to counter the honest work of Alonso, and the true position of Lucy on the Third Secret, Ratzinger published the fraudulent Message of Fatima I cited in a previous paper. Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, and a select few people visited with Lucy privately on November 17, 2001 in order to add to the fraud. They published supposed statements by Lucy that were counter to her long-established position. The Church had to do something about Lucy.
For a detailed discussion about the damaging work of the apostate, Eduoard Dhanis, see Volume I, The Whole Truth About Fatima, (TWTAF) by Brother Michael of the Holy Trinity, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1983, with English translation in 1989. During the pontificate of Pius XII, the velvety voice of malice from Dhanis insinuated doubt against a whole series of heavenly apparitions previously approved by the Church and embraced by the faithful. He initially published this criticism with two lengthy papers in 1944, followed by a book in 1945: On the Apparitions and Secret of Fatima, A Critical Contribution. The work by Dhanis was the opening salvo of Church godless theories against divine revelations. It helped define a shifting policy and profound change in Church efforts to deny holy communications. Although several works appeared in opposition to the writings of Dhanis, he became influential in Vatican attitudes in general about Marian Apparitions. (Dhanis was promoted to professor at the Gregorian University in 1949. During the preparations for Vatican II he made major contributions to the design of the Council, was promoted to Consultor to the Holy Office in 1962, and Rector of Gregorian University in 1963. He was put in charge of the Congress on the Theology of Vatican II in 1966, and in 1967 the Pope chose him to be "special secretary" of the first Synod of Bishops. He carried great influence on theological developments in the Vatican before and after Vatican II.)
Lucy was aware of the criticisms of Dhanis about Fatima. She invited the Jesuit to come interview her and examine the documents on Fatima. He declined. Although he could not deny the testimony of so many people about the Fatima events, he did not trust Lucy's later pronouncements, and did not believe she could add anything to what he had already judged were fabrications of her mind.
In the late 1950’s, as the Vatican hierarchy became aware of the content of the Third Secret, with release of the Secret imminent in 1960, Lucy was officially forbidden to speak about it, or any other aspect of the Fatima revelations, and since then can receive no visitors except close relatives and long-time friends. Her own confessor of many years, Father Aparicio, returned from Brazil, where he was later assigned, but was not allowed to see her. Only appointed Church officials may meet with her. Her isolation is closely monitored in order that she not reveal material that would jeopardize current Church apostate policy. In this manner the Vatican can select individuals to interview her, and then report falsely according to their apostate desires. She truly is a prisoner of the Church. The silence of Lucy was important to avoid interference with Church operations. Later I shall show specific reasons why Lucy had to be silenced.
On May 13, 1967, after a Mass celebrated in front of the basilica in Fatima, Portugal, Lucy approached Pope Paul VI and requested, "I want to have a private conversation with you." She repeated this request several times. The Pope refused her request and replied, "See, it is not the moment. Speak to your Bishop." Rebuffed, Lucy withdrew. The Pope turned towards the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to place a silver rosary between her hands. He could not reach them; instead he deposited the rosary at the statue's feet. Meanwhile, the crowd shouted: "Lucia, Lucia, Lucia!" Then Bishop Hnilica led Lucy onto the front of the podium. When the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims saw Sister Lucy near the Pope, they applauded. But hundreds of cameras recorded a stunning scene: Lucy was crying; she was stung deep within her heart.
When the May 13, 1982 anniversary celebration Mass was planned at Fatima, Sister Lucia was requested to attend to be with Pope John Paul II. She refused. She then was given a papal command to do so. Photos revealed Sister Lucia smiling as she stood with the Pope after a private meeting with him. John Paul II met with Lucy on two later occasions. On May 13, 1991, he had a ten-minute conversation with her, but the content of that and the other conversations has never been published.
Hundred of Internet web sites, and many books, are rife with a plethora of false statements, letters, and reports, coming out of the Vatican, concerning Lucy’s position on the Third Secret, and the consecration of Russia. These are all counter to her avowed position, intended to deny her loyalty to the Fatima revelations, and to cast her into a light of supporting the apostate Vatican position. The list is far too long to cite here.
Clearly, with publication of a fraudulent Third Secret, manipulation of false statements attributed to Lucy, and the Church history of the Fatima revelations, the Vatican is intensely concerned about suppressing that Third Secret.
The Early ApparitionsLucy and the other children had a prior history of visual apparitions. In midsummer 1915 Lucy and some companion shepherd children had climbed a hill with a valley spread before them. According to her account in the Second Memoir, FLOW pg 59:
Around midday, we ate our lunch. After this, I invited my companions to pray the Rosary with me, to which they eagerly agreed. We had hardly begun when, there before our eyes, we saw a figure poised in the air above the trees; it looked like a statue made of snow, rendered almost transparent by the rays of the sun.
In her Fourth Memoir, pg 154, she offers more detailed description. She does not offer an exact date but “this must have happened between the months of April and October . . .” Her three companions were Teresa Matias and her sister Maria Rosa, and Maria Justino “on the southern slope of the Cabeco.”
|We were just about to start praying the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent . . . This happened on two further occasions, but on different days.|
Importantly, she goes on to say:
This Apparition made a certain impression on me, which I do not know how to explain. Little by little, this impression faded away, and were it not for the events that followed, I think I would have forgotten it completely.
On a spring day in 1916 she and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco were tending sheep at Chousa Velha, a grazing field, when they were startled by a brilliant light enclosing a young man of great beauty, who said to them that he was the Angel of Peace, FLOW, Second Memoir, pg 62.
As it drew closer, we were able to distinguish its features. It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty.
Later she wrote, FLOW, Fourth Memoir, pg 155:
|After having taken lunch and said our prayers, we began to see, some distance off, above the trees that stretched away towards the east a light, whiter than snow, in the form of a young man, transparent and brighter than crystal pierced by the rays of the sun. As he drew near we could distinguish his features more and more clearly. We were surprised, absorbed, and struck dumb with amazement.|
All three children saw the vision but Francisco could not hear the conversation that took place with the other two, although Lucy was the only one to speak with the apparition. The angel, who next identified himself as the “Angel Guardian,” or “Angel of Portugal,” appeared again that summer, and in the fall he gave the children the host to eat and the chalice to drink, FLOW pgs 64 and 155f. (Refer to my previous accounts of events at Garabandal.) The children were deeply awed and became pious; they spent long periods praying as the angel had instructed them. Jacinta constantly exclaimed over the beauty of the angel.
For comparison see Mark 16:5-8.
Although the children had been told to not relate the events to their families, Jacinta could not keep quiet. This led to a questioning of the children, and even later persecution by local authorities, who actually imprisoned them for a short period. This also caused family members to accompany the children the following month. Interest continued to flow outward each month until October when an estimated 70,000 people were crowded into and around a small vale where the events took place, called the Cova da Iria and owned by the parents of Lucy.
I shall not enter into a more detailed history of the children, nor shall I discuss here the celestial phenomena observed by the entire crowd during the October visitation. In addition to the above materials many web sites exist devoted to the Fatima events. Some of those are more reliable than others, but all express concern about the truth of the revelations.
Lucy divided the Secret into Three Parts, which have come to be known as the Three Secrets. They show (1) the result of nuclear destruction, (2) the political circumstances that will bring this Great Judgment upon mankind, and (3) dire warnings if mankind does not alter its course. The Secrets were revealed in the visitation of July 13, 1917, FLOW pgs 165 - 166.
Here I emphasize that celestial agents withheld the Third Secret from publication in the early years prior to 1960 in order that the natural evolution of the human political scene not be interrupted. God is bringing judgment, but he is letting mankind determine for itself the nature of that judgment. Lucy knew of this time limitation and gave instructions that the Third Secret should not be opened until 1960, after, we now know, the development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. As she said, the Third Secret would become clear at that time. This was also the time of intense international tension, conducive to the deployment of tens of thousands of such weapons. Even now, after several treaties among the sparring countries, the numbers of such weapons are immense, and could destroy the earth several times over. Later I detail the events leading to Lucy revealing the Third Secret, and its subsequent history after it reached the Papal private quarters.
Other SourcesFor an important and trustworthy account see Fatima, John De Marchi, The Mercer Press, Cork, Ireland, 1950. This account is not influenced by more recent developments and Vatican causes to stifle the ominous warnings of the Third Secret.
As I cited above, a more recent work of Brother Michael of the Holy Trinity, in three volumes, is invaluable for its assemblage of important information from various sources. Unfortunately, major portions are devoted to justification of the consecration of Russia, and Lucy’s efforts to effect a transformation of Vatican policy.
Another useful book is The Devil’s Final Battle, Father Paul Kramer, The Missionary Association, Terryville, CT, 2002. Kramer does a comprehensive review of the Message of Fatima, and the opposition mounted by the Vatican to debunk the visions.Joaquin Alonso wrote several books that reached publication. An important one is Secret of Fatima, Fact and Legend, Ravengate Press, 1977.
The official Fatima, Portugal site is at:
Another important source of information is at:
The Counter Reformation Center was formed by Georges De Nantes, an outstanding French scholar who is fervent in his opposition to Church liberalizing influences since Vatican II and who maintains a Catholic "highroad between heresy and schism."