1. Apostasy Will
Invade the Church
We can do no better than to quote Father Alonso’s judicious commentary here:
«“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.»7
Father Alonso writes again:
«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.»8
«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.»9
«One conclusion does indeed seem to be beyond question: the content of the unpublished part of the Secret does not refer to new wars or political upheavals, but to happenings of a religious and intra-Church character, which of their nature are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.»10
The Rallying of the Experts
It must be remarked that Father Alonso was not the first to express this hypothesis. It imposes itself as soon as we pay serious attention to the first words of the third Secret, purposely revealed by Sister Lucy. In 1967, Father Martins dos Reis wrote in Sintese Critica:
«Everything which was said (on the contents of the third Secret) was nothing more than fantasies in bad taste, except what has to do with a crisis in “the dogma of the Faith” in certain nations, and less so in Portugal . . .»11
In 1968, Father Roger Rebut was more explicit:
«This statement of the Blessed Virgin suggests, by opposition to the word always, that in other places it will not be the same. These words recall Our Lady’s words pronounced at La Salette and Pellevoisin regarding the Church.»12
Before long, the majority of Portuguese experts rallied to this hypothesis: Father Messias Dias Coelho, publicly, in his journal Mensagem de Fátima; more discreetly, Canon Galamba, Father Luis Kondor, vice-postulator of the causes of beatification for Jacinta and Francisco, and undoubtedly Bishop Venancio himself, who strongly desired publication of Father Alonso’s works.
Can we be more precise on the probable contents of this prophecy concerning the crisis of the Faith? In 1970, Father Messias Dias Coelho wrote:
«From the mouths of some Fatima experts we were able to hear this opinion: very probably the third part of the Secret does not only speak about the crisis of the Faith, but also about the countries in which it is more acutely felt.»13
We know that this was also Father Schweigl’s opinion. He confided it to a member of his entourage — from whom we have this information — after returning from his investigative trip to Portugal, when he had the privilege of being able to question Sister Lucy at length.
An Unprecedented Apostasy
Whether various nations are cited in the Secret or not, we now know that it concerns not only a crisis of the Faith strictly limited to some regions of the world: «The loss of Faith of a continent, (declares the Bishop of Leiria), is worse than the annihilation of a nation; and it is true that Faith is continually diminishing in Europe.»14
As for Cardinal Ratzinger, it is clear that his declarations to Vittorio Messori, in August, 1984, equally confirm Father Alonso’s hypothesis. The Cardinal tells us that the third Secret of Fatima deals with «dangers threatening the faith and life of Christians, and therefore the world». It is even probable that it was reading this extraordinary document that made the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decide to denounce the grave errors which have taken root, and today threaten the integrity of the Catholic Faith in four continents out of five.15
Such a crisis of faith, on the scale of several nations or entire continents, has a name in Holy Scripture: apostasy. The word itself may be found in the text of the Secret.
Now everything is clear. This hypothesis, and it alone, corresponds perfectly to all the data concerning the mysterious Secret. And first of all the fulfillment of this prophecy, expressed at the Cova da Iria forty years earlier, is as striking as it is undeniable.
II. Since 1960 the Prophecy is Being
Fulfilled before Our Eyes
Yes, henceforth we understand Lucy’s words: «In 1960, it will be clearer.» Our Father already denounced the seriousness of this terrible crisis of the Faith in 1959, in a series of letters entitled, “The mystery of the Church and the Antichrist”.16
With the passing of time, the fact has become more and more obvious. While using prudent circumlocutions, Father Alonso explains it to his reader. His analysis deserves to be followed, step by step:
«Can this intermediate period (which corresponds to the spiritual chastisements announced by the third Secret) be determined, chronologically, as being the one we have been living through, since the immediate pre-conciliar period and the post-conciliar period? (Let us point out how he skillfully sidesteps the conciliar period, curiously isolated from the pre-conciliar period, which prepared it, and the post-conciliar period, which flowed from it!) We may affirm in general that this is so, for it is certain that the consecration of Russia has still not been made.
«On the other hand, the internal troubles in the post-conciliar Church bear witness to a lamentable state of affairs, clearly pointed out by Pope Paul. This has been characterized not only by conflicts and antagonisms within the Church, but also by a tremendous weakening of the seriousness of theology; this was followed by a hypercriticism which is in the process of undermining Catholic exegesis; and later on, an anything-goes theology, which makes a game out of proposing new interpretations and new dogmas every day; finally a terrible crisis of the Faith in which the Church is without joy, without firmness, without support and without inner strength to work, faced with a hostile world which pretends to reduce it to a secular establishment.»
How correct all these observations are! But such is their importance that our official expert saw fit to prudently attenuate his thought. He will not, all the same, declare openly what follows inevitably from his thesis. That is, it is precisely this terrible apostasy from the Faith — which was the work of a minority of bishops and theologians before the Council, was then imposed on the majority during the Council, and which has grown uninterruptedly worse since then — which is the subject of the final Secret of Fatima! Hence he adds some expressions of uncertainty about the truths he has just enunciated, truths which are too powerful:
«No one can doubt that this is what happened. But is it precisely to this condition that the words of the text allude, “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved”? There are assuredly good grounds for believing that they do. It is not, however, easy to say if the third part of the Secret refers to the era we are living in today or to another epoch yet to come. To limit the “intermediate” period to the present time is extremely probable, but not certain.»17
In other words: the Church is suffering from a frightful crisis of the Faith since 1960; this is certain. On the other hand, it is definite that the final Secret of Fatima announces a grave crisis of the Faith; this is equally certain, Father Alonso tells us. Is there not a necessary correspondence between these two facts? Our expert thinks so, proves it, but does not dare to say so categorically . . . at least in 1976. For six years later, in an article on the Secret of Fatima where he takes up the same thesis almost line by line, it is remarkable that he failed to go through the motions of repeating these restrictions, which do not take into account one of the four definite facts concerning the contents of the third Secret.18 In effect, as we have shown, it is certain that the prophecy began being fulfilled in a clearer manner, beginning in 1960.19
For this reason it is useless, henceforth, to try to continue dissimulating about the truth. Besides, in September, 1984, Bishop do Amaral left not the slightest doubt on this subject. He tells us without the slightest hesitation: the third Secret of Fatima prophesies the terrible crisis of faith from which the Church is presently suffering.
«Behold, I Have Foretold It To You!» (MT. 24, 25)
Once this certainty is acquired, it is obvious that the fact is of the highest importance. The prophecy of Fatima then assumes a more extraordinary scope in our eyes. In 1917, the Immaculate Virgin had predicted, at the Cova da Iria, the two major facts which were going to dominate the history of the century: the worldwide expansion of Russian Bolshevism, and the unprecedented apostasy which would strike the Catholic Church.
Even if the final Secret of Fatima did nothing more than announce, without further details, this terrible crisis of Faith which would suddenly ravage the Church if Our Lady’s requests were not obeyed, this prophecy would already be of capital importance. But, as we will see, the Third Secret tells us more. It does not merely denounce the frightful misfortune of this collapse of Faith. It also indicates the causes; it sheds its own divine light on the dramatic confrontations which have happened within the very bosom of the Church for well nigh thirty years, and it points to the one, narrow road of true salvation.
(7) VSF, p.
(8) Ibid., p. 80.
(9) Ibid., p. 80.
(10) Ibid., p. 81.
(11) Ibid., p. 69.
(12) Les messages de la Vierge Marie, p. 195. Téqui, 1968.
(13) Quoted by Freire, p. 160-161.
(14) Cf. supra. p. 676.
(15) “Vittorio Messori speaks with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: Here is why the faith is in crisis”, in the review Jesus, November 1984. On this terribly alarming diagnosis of the present situation of the Church, cf. the “Open Letter to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger” published by our Father, the Abbé de Nantes, in January 1985 (CRC 207).
(16) Lettres à mes amis, No. 58 et. Seq.
(17) VSF, (Spanish ed.), p. 74; cf. Engl. Ed. p. 81.
(18) “De nuevo el secreto de Fátima”, p. 92. Ephemerides mariologicae, 1982.
(19) Cf. supra, p. 639-641.
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