Blessed Be God in the Highest

The Third Secret of Fatima
The Post-Conciliar Debacle
(Part Two)

By Christopher A. Ferrara, Esq.

Editors Note: In the first installment of this five-part series, Mr. Ferrara surveyed the history of the Third Secret of Fatima, including its transfer to the Vatican in a sealed envelope in 1957 and its mysterious suppression by Pope John XXIII in 1960, the year it was to have been disclosed to the faithful. Mr. Ferrara also traced the progress of communism and the spread of Russia's errors throughout the world, as predicted by Our Lady of Fatima, in the years leading up to the Second Vatican council.

He also recounted the eerie prophecy of Pope Pius XII, who said that the Message of Fatima was "a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith and [the] liturgy." Pius XII, evidently fearing the worst, scrapped his own plans for an ecumenical council. The first installment ended with Pope John XXIII declaring to the opening session of the Second Vatican Council that "we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster ..." Under the "Vatican-Moscow Agreement" negotiated in secret before the Council, the council fathers would be prevented from denouncing Communism.

In this second installment, Mr. Ferrara sketches the subversion of Vatican II by liberal reformers, the apparent indifference of Pope Paul VI to the Third Secret, his refusal to speak with Sister Lucy, and the great debacle which followed the Council.

As Paul VI himself recognized, Cardinal Ottaviani and his fellow defenders of Tradition in the Roman Curia had expressed "astonishment and apprehension at the sudden summoning of the Council ..."22 The history of the past 35 years shows that their apprehension was more than justified. The members of the Curia could only have been apprehensive about the Council because they understood that the charism of infallibility does not attach to everything a council might say or do. Today's "conservative" Catholics (a group which did not exist before the Council) would not have shared the Curial apprehension. "Conservatives" generally make the extravagant claim that the Holy Spirit positively guided all of the Council's acts and proceedings, rather than providing what the charism of infallibility strictly entails that is, a negative restraint against the solemn authoritative definition of explicit error as Catholic teaching, rather than a positive inspiration to produce perfect documents.

An Opening is Exploited

While the Third Secret of Fatima lay hidden from the world in the papal apartments, the conciliar liberals were preparing assiduously to take advantage of the opening presented by Pope John's sudden calling of an ecumenical council.

We know from Fr. Wiltgen's definitive account in The Rhine Flows Into The Tiber, and also from their own boasting, how the liberal bishops of the so-called "Rhine group" (so named because their home countries bordered the Rhine River) planned to junk the Council's carefully prepared agenda, seize control of the conciliar drafting apparatus and produce new conciliar documents more to their liking. The story has been told in great depth not only by Fr. Wiltgen, who is no "traditionalist", but also by Michael Davies, Cardinal Heenan and many others. A brief sketch suffices here.

The first initiative of the "Rhine group" was to insure that its members were elected to a controlling number of seats on each conciliar commission. This was accomplished after Cardinal Liénart blocked a vote on the Curia's slate of 168 candidates by seizing the microphone in a gross violation of the Council's own rules of procedure, demanding out of order that the Curial slate be discarded rather than voted upon. Liénart's "inspired" action was pronounced a triumph by the press. The Bishop of Lille declared that Liénart had "deflected the course of the Council and made history." The bishop was right.23 The date was October 13, 1962 the 45th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

Once the curial slate was discarded, Rhine group candidates were able to capture 49 percent of all elective seats on the commissions overall, 50 percent of the seats on the crucial Theological Commission, and 56 percent on the even more crucial Liturgical Commission. "After the election," writes Wiltgen, "it was not too hard to foresee which group was well enough organized to take over leadership at the Second Vatican Council. The Rhine had begun to flow into the Tiber."24

The next phase of the liberals' plan was to dispose of the Council's preparatory schemas, whose "rigid" and "sterile" formulations precluded the liberalizing outcome they had in mind for the Council. But to discard the schemas would require a 2/3 vote of the Council Fathers under the procedural rules promulgated by Pope John. Bowing to pressure from the liberals, Pope John agreed to change the rules in the middle of the game, allowing a bare majority of the Council Fathers to reject the schemas.

Through skillful lobbying and speeches full of applause lines aimed at the mass media, a majority of the Council Fathers was persuaded to discard all of the preparatory schemas, except one: the schema on sacred liturgy, which was very dear to the liberals. The liturgy schema was a collection of liturgical land mines to be detonated after the Council by its principal draftsman, the infamous Annibale Bugnini.

Once the Council had been stripped of its entire carefully prepared agenda in itself a wholly unprecedented event in Church history the Council's new agenda, and all of its documents, would be created ab initio by the conciliar commissions which were now effectively controlled by Rhine group members and their periti. As Michael Davies has noted, the liberals objected to the agenda being imposed upon them at the Council by way of the preparatory schemas, and then proceeded to impose an agenda of their own.

It is no surprise that after the liberals succeeded in stripping the Council of its agenda, they agitated for and obtained immediate consideration of the remaining preparatory schema: the schema on the liturgy. Cardinal Ottaviani had perceived the destructive potential of the Bugnini schema in the hands of liberals, and sounded the alarm: "Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation."25 As we know today, Cardinal Ottaviani's warning was not heeded; the Bugnini schema quickly became the Council's Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, adopted on December 7, 1962, the day before the first session of the Council ended.

Bugnini himself would implement the liturgy Constitution as Secretary of the Concilium established by Paul VI after the Council. As Klaus Gamber wrote in his Reform of the Roman Liturgy:

"The Council Fathers, when publishing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, simply did not expect to see the avalanche they had started, crushing under it all traditional forms of liturgical worship, including the new liturgy they themselves had created."26

With the blessing of Paul VI, who cited the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy as his authority27, Bugnini's Concilium concocted a new rite of Mass which was imposed upon the Church in 1969, followed by new forms for all of the other sacraments. In short, the Pope himself had ignored what Pius XII described as Fatima's "divine warning against the suicide of altering the ... liturgy."

Yet Paul VI had read the Third Secret almost immediately after his election to the papacy. Like John XXIII, he had relegated it to oblivion, dispatching Cardinal Ottaviani to offer excuses for its non-disclosure at a Mariological conference in Rome in 1967, two years before he gave permission for Bugnini's destruction of the Roman Rite.28

Unprecedented Documents

By the end of the fourth and final session of the Council, the Catholic Church had been presented with a set of sixteen conciliar documents containing a number of strangely ambiguous formulations, the likes of which have never been seen in the entire history of the Magisterium. The conciliar documents, especially Lumen Gentium (on the Church), Unitatis Redintegratio (on "ecumenism"), Dignitatis Humanae (on religious liberty), Gaudium et Spes (on the Church in the "modern world") and, of course, Sacrosanctum Concilium (on the liturgy), clearly reflect a tremendous struggle between the forces of neo-modernism unleashed by the suddenly convoked Council, who were trying to inject their ambiguous verbal "viruses" into the Mystical Body, and the Curial "immune system" which fought fiercely to restrain them. The result of that struggle was "consensus" documents in which ambiguous "viruses" are surrounded with traditional "antibodies" designed to counteract them. One can see the documents veer away from and then toward Tradition within the space of a few paragraphs, or even a few words.

In his definitive study The Battle for the American Church, Msgr. George Kelly, a "conservative" who can hardly be accused of "traditionalist" leanings, put it this way: "Gregory Baum, who was at the Council, once thought that Pope John smiled in two directions. Critics of Pope Paul suggest that he prayed the same way. The problems of the post-conciliar Church reflect this predicament. The documents of the Council contain enough basic ambiguities to make the post-conciliar difficulties understandable."29 What Msgr. Kelly does not discuss is the incredible fact that an ecumenical council of the Holy Catholic Church had been induced to produce such ambiguous documents in the first place. No wonder the members of the Curia were apprehensive about the sudden calling of the Council.

Only by the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit had certain of the most troublesome parts of the conciliar texts been preserved from the catastrophe of defining outright error as truth. Corrections and footnotes inserted at the eleventh hour by the papal fiat of Paul VI prevented that from happening in certain passages. These interventions outraged the liberals, who complained that such acts of papal supremacy violated their new-fangled notion of "collegiality". They spoke of a "Black Week" at the Council marked by several crucial papal interventions and the Pope's proclamation of Mary as Mother of the Church, which particularly enraged them.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of how the Holy Spirit operated in this way at the Council was the nota praevia which Paul VI ordered to be added to Lumen Gentium to clarify its highly ambiguous and confusing text on "collegiality" a text which, among its other problems, seemed to equate the power of binding and loosing given by Christ to the Apostles with that conferred individually and specially upon Peter as His Vicar, and also to grant some sort of juridical status to the posited "college of bishops". Pope Paul made this intervention literally moments before the text was to be approved, after having wept over incontrovertible documentary proof that the liberals were planning to use the text to undermine the doctrine of papal primacy after the Council.30

As Romano Amerio, a peritus at the Council, observes in his masterwork Iota Unum: "[I]t seems inexplicable, after so many consultations, corrections and revisions, and the acceptance of so many amendments, that the council should issue a doctrinal document so imperfect as to require an explanatory note at the very moment of its promulgation."31

During the Council Paul VI met with Metropolitan Nikodim, Moscow's KGB negotiator of the Council's silence on communism. In private remarks, the Ukrainian Catholic Major Archbishop, Josef Slipyi, denounced Pope Paul for "clasping the blood-stained hands of the murderers of the Greek Catholic Church."32 In 1978 Nikodim would drop dead while having coffee in the papal apartments of John Paul I. Ten days later John Paul I himself would die, on the thirty-third day of his reign.

Our Lady Sacrificed to "Ecumenism"

Even worse than its failure to denounce Communism, Paul VI and the Council had eschewed a marvelous opportunity to effect the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the world's bishops in union with the Pope, as requested by Our Lady in the "second" part of the great Secret of Fatima.

In fact, it was all the defenders of Tradition could do to keep the reformers, led by Karl Rahner, from completely stripping Our Lady of Her perennial titles. The compromise adopted on the battlefield of the Council floor was yet another "consensus" formulation: Our Lady would be described simply as "Mediatrix" (of what?), and the key theological phrase "of all graces" dropped from her title. She would be stripped of Her traditional title of Co-Redemptrix. Even the redacted title "Mediatrix" would be consigned to the end of a list of other titles "Advocate", "Helper", "Benefactress" so as to make it less offensive to the delegations of non-Catholic "observers" attending the Council.33

Cardinal Bea, President of the newly created Secretariat for "Christian Unity", had objected even to the limited title "Mediatrix"; but Italian Archbishop Mingo condemned the foreshortened title, calling it part of a "radical mutilation" of the original text of the schema devoted to Mary, which was drastically reduced in scope and relegated to a segment of Lumen Gentium. Even the arch-liberal Cardinal Suenens, departing for once from the "Rhine group" line, objected to the manner in which the truncated text minimized the importance of Mary, "a tendency which today constitutes a real danger."34

In a revoltingly obsequious address to the non-Catholic "observers" at Rome's Columbus Hotel on October 15, 1962, four days after the Council began, Cardinal Bea had begged his "dear brothers in Christ" to "tell us very frankly ... everything that you dislike, to share with us your positive criticisms, your suggestions and your desires."35 And so they had. The Church's veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary was no doubt high on their list to "everything that you dislike." Those "dear brothers in Christ", it must be said, represented "churches" which approved of contraception and divorce at the time of the Council, and have since approved of such "Christian" doctrines as the permissibility of abortion and the ordination of women as "priests".

Although Paul VI had proclaimed Mary as Mother of the Church during the Council, he would refrain throughout the remainder of his pontificate from referring to Her even as simply Mediatrix, thereby serving the new "ecumenical venture" inaugurated by Unitatis Redintegratio and administered by Cardinal Bea. In the years which would follow Cardinal Bea's fawning speech at the Columbus Hotel, the "churches" of the "dear brothers in Christ" would not, of course, move one millimeter closer to an acceptance of the doctrines of the true Faith which they had impudently rejected long ago on their own authority. On the contrary, they would only move further away from the truth in the process of decomposing like corpses.

Yet the "ecumenical venture" launched by the Council would continue unabated, with the Vatican propping up these dead churches and giving them the appearance of life, like the deceased at an Irish wake. Some thirty-four years after Cardinal Bea's little speech, the "ecumenical" Theological Commission of the Pontifical International Marian Academy, including an Anglican and two Lutherans, would unanimously advise Pope John Paul II not to proclaim infallibly the dogma that Mary is what She has always been called by the Church: Mediatrix of All Graces. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls would add that it is "crystal clear" that the dogma would not be defined by John Paul II because the Commission had deemed it "inopportune to abandon the path marked out by Vatican II."36

The "path marked out by Vatican II" has led the Church away from bestowing upon the Mother of God the full honors due to Her. Following that path, the Holy Catholic Church now consults heretics and schismatics for their opinion on the Marian dogmas, and even on what aspects of the papacy may be dispensed with for the sake of "Christian unity".37 The same path has led the Church away from the heavenly Message Our Lady delivered to earth at Fatima.

The Council Ends

In his address at the end of the Council's Fourth Session on December 7, 1965, Paul VI appealed to the secular humanists of the world to recognize that "we, also, more than anyone else, have the cult of man." The next day the Council would formally close.

According to Cardinal Casaroli, Vatican Secretary of State and Great Architect of the new policy of Ostpolitik which began with the Vatican-Moscow Agreement, it now appeared that the Soviet "aims of disarmament and easing of international tensions correspond with her [the Church's] own mission of peace".38 Yet Our Lord told us that He had not come to bring "peace" (especially the "world peace" of the Soviets), but the sword. Our Lord predicted that His teaching would cause division and bring down the hatred of the world upon the members of His Church, not amiable "dialogue" with her enemies. And He warned the world that "he who believes not shall be condemned."

Nevertheless, after the Council, the Church's implacable opposition to any collaboration whatsoever with Communists was officially abandoned. The era of an endless "dialogue with the world", including communists, had begun. The Church, seemingly out of embarrassment at her past "triumphalism", would cease describing herself as mater et magister mother and teacher and assume the role of merely one party to a "dialogue" with her partners in building the "civilization of love". The results of that "dialogue" are the continued persecution of the Church in Russia and Red China, 600 million abortions, and a civilization whose descent into barbarity has only accelerated since the "dialogue" commenced.

Paul VI Ignores the Warnings of Fatima

In May 1967 Paul VI made a brief pilgrimage to Fatima, giving an address which reduced the Message of Fatima to a call for prayer and penance stripped of its divine warnings. His Holiness made no mention of the errors of Russia, which were at that very moment devouring the world; nor did he mention the most unecumenical notion that Russia be converted through Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In a pathetic scene, Sister Lucy presented her little hand-made gift to the Pope, who allowed her to approach him on the proscenium where he had delivered the address. She then pleaded repeatedly to speak privately with the Vicar of Christ. Did she wish to speak to him about the Third Secret? "You see, it is not the time", he replied, "And then, if you wish to communicate something to me, tell your bishop ... Be very obedient to your bishop."39 As the crowd gave its ovation to Sister Lucy, she stood beside the Pope, weeping disconsolately in full view of the television camera. The last surviving seer of Fatima; the bearer of the Third Secret; the prophet who had predicted the Miracle of the Sun this chosen messenger of God had been reduced to a crowd-pleasing prop at a media spectacle.

In 1957 Sister Lucy had confided to Father Fuentes that "the Most Holy Virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to Her Message, neither the good nor the bad."40 Ten years later, even though the Pope had come to Fatima, it was still the same. Hidden away in the Vatican, the Third Secret was still being kept from the faithful. But soon the euphoria of the Council would give way in the mind of Paul VI to the dread of an unprecedented disaster.

The Smoke of Satan

Nineteen months after he had refused to speak with Sister Lucy at Fatima, Pope Paul would declare in a speech to the Lombard College that "The Church is in a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what could be better called self-demolition. It is an acute and complicated upheaval which nobody would have expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking herself." On June 30, 1972, Pope Paul would utter his frightening lament that "from somewhere or other the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God ... In the Church, too, this state of uncertainty reigns. It was believed that after the Council a sunny day would dawn, but instead there came a day of clouds, storms and darkness."41

Six years later Paul VI was dead. Shortly before his death he had wept over the establishment of an abortion mill in Rome. Three years before his death he had sacked Bugnini, mastermind of the destruction of the Roman rite, sending him to a useless titular post in Iran within hours of being presented with a dossier on Bugnini's Masonic affiliations, as Bugnini himself admitted in his autobiography.42

By the time Paul VI had passed from this world in 1978, the Roman liturgy had been reduced to a shambles; priests and nuns were defecting by the tens of thousands; vocations and conversions had abruptly decreased from a pre-conciliar torrent to a post-conciliar trickle; Mass attendance was plummeting like a stone.

The greatest debacle in the history of the Holy Catholic Church was well underway.


  1. 22. Hebblethwaite, Paul VI the First Modern Pope, p.345.

  2. 23. Amerio, Iota Unum, p. 85.

  3. 24. Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, p. 19.

  4. 25. Ibid., p. 28.

  5. 26. Gamber, Klaus. Reform of the Roman Liturgy, Una Voce Press, San Juan Capistrano/Foundation for Catholic Reform, Harrision, NY (1993), p. 21.

  6. 27.Cfr. Apostolic Constitution of Paul VI, April 3, 1969.

  7. 28. Frère Michel, The Third Secret at p. 721.

  8. 29. Kelly, Msgr. George A. The Battle for the American Church. Image Books, Garden City, NY (1981), p.20.

  9. 30. Wiltgen, op cit., p. 232.

  10. 31. Amerio, op cit. p.91.

  11. 32. Hebblethwaite, op cit., p. 337.

  12. 33. Lumen Gentium, n. 62.

  13. 34. Wiltgen, op cit. pp. 155-156.

  14. 35. Council Daybook, Vol. II, p. 39.

  15. 36. Catholic World News, June 24, 1997; Catholic New York, August 21, 1977, p.7 (quoting L'Osservatore Romano).

  16. 37. On December 2, 1996 the Catholic World News service reported the incredible news that Cardinal Ratzinger, with the blessing of John Paul II, would chair a theological conference to answer the question: "What are the essential elements of the Catholic understanding of papal primacy, and what elements could possibly be adapted to fit the needs of ecumenical progress?" The conference includes "Leading theologians from three different Christian communions Lutheran, Anglican, and Orthodox", who will "join Catholic scholars in examining the issues involved in the papacy." The conference report has yet to be issued, but Cardinal Ratzinger has promised that it will be forthcoming, as an aid to "ecumenical progress".

  17. 38. Floridi, S.J., Fr. Alexis. Moscow and the Vatican. Artis Publishers, Ann Arbor Michigan (1986), p. 41.

  18. 39. From the declarations of Father Almeida, Portuguese translator for Paul VI at the event. Broadcast on Vatican Radio, May 15, 1967 and recorded in "Documentation Catholique", 1967, columns 1242-1243.

  19. 40. The Third Secret, p. 504.

  20. 41. Amerio, op cit., p. 6.

  21. 42. Davies, Pope John's Council, p. 172.

  22. Part One
    Part Three
    Part Four & Five

    Table of Contents