Fatima, Portugal, Oct 10, 2017 / 23:05 pm
The third secret of Fatima deals with past events, but at the same time, its call to conversion is always current, always up to date, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State emeritus.
In an interview with CNA, Cardinal Bertone spoke about the third secret of Fatima, how the decision to release the secret was made, and his memories of his three meetings with Sr. Lucia, the longest-living of the three shepherd children who had been the custodian of the secret until it was released by the Vatican at the request of Pope John Paul II.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s appearance to three shepherd children in 1917. Pope Francis made a two-day pilgrimage to Fatima May 12-13 to celebrate the centenary and to canonize two of the children, Francisco and Jacinta Marta.
The “third secret of Fatima” refers to a message during the apparitions predicting suffering and persecution of the Pope and the Church. Unlike the first two secrets – a vision of hell and a prediction of World War II – the third secret was not initially revealed by Sr. Lucia. At first, she said that Mary had not yet permitted her to reveal it to the world. Later, the Vatican chose to keep it secret until 2000, when it was finally revealed.
The Fatima apparitions “confirm some encouraging news,” Cardinal Bertone said, “that the Mother of the Son of God Incarnated and Our Mother does not abandon humanity in the course of history. She is present, and watches over humanity as the spokesperson and guarantor of God’s Mercy. She is the mediator of salvation.”
On his way to Portugal for his 2010 apostolic trip, the cardinal noted, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that in addition to referencing the suffering of Pope John Paul II, the third secret points to realities involving the future of the Church, “which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident.”
That means, he added, that “the vision implies the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world.”
Cardinal Bertone pointed to the theological commentary released by Cardinal Ratzinger at the time of the third secret’s release. Cardinal Ratzinger said: “In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which filled the last fifty years and have inflicted unprecedented forms of cruelty.”