Blessed Be God in the Highest

Cardinal Silvio Oddi

Cardinal Silvio Oddi
Dead at 90

Cardinal Oddi was "well-known for
his views on Third Secret of Fatima"

Cardinal Silvio Oddi, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, died on Friday, June 29, at the age of 90.

He died in a hospital near Piacenza, his hometown in northern Italy. The Vatican said he had been ill for some time.

Born on November 14, 1910, Silvio Oddi entered the seminary at age 11 and was ordained on May 31, 1933.

Cardinal Oddi, who was a friend of The Fatima Crusader, served as a Vatican diplomat from 1938 to 1962, most of the time in the Middle East. On July 30, 1953, he was appointed Archbishop of the titular Church of Mesembria and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem, Palestine, Trans-Jordan and Cypress.

Between 1953 and 1957, Oddi worked with Orthodox leaders for the restoration of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Due to bizarre circumstances dating back to the Twelfth-Century Moslem conquest of the Holy Land immediately after the Crusades, the church is shared by Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox — most of its history marked by severe tensions between the Orthodox and Catholics; including an incident inside the church when a Catholic priest was beaten to death with a candlestick by an Orthodox clergyman.

Archbishop Oddi was transferred to Egypt in 1957. After many years in the Middle East, he was named Nuncio to Belgium-Luxembourg in 1962. On April 28, 1969, Pope Paul VI made him a Cardinal.

Between 1979 and 1985 he served as Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy. His congregation issued new restrictions barring priests from engaging in politics, an action aimed primarily at activist clergymen in Latin America.

Pope John Paul II sent a telegram of sympathy over the death of the Cardinal in which he said “I recall with a grateful spirit the precious cooperation he gave to the Holy See over so many decades, at the service of five Pontiffs ...”

Cardinal Oddi, who had a reputation as a conservative, was well-known for his views on the Third Secret of Fatima and for his comments on the 1986 pan-religious prayer meeting at Assisi, which he considered a scandal.

Regarding the pan-religious prayer-meeting at Assisi, that included Catholics, Protestants, Muhammadans, Jews, Buddhists, Animists, Hindus, and various others, Cardinal Oddi said:

“On that day ... I walked through Assisi ... And I saw real profanations in some places of prayer. I saw Buddhists dancing around the altar upon which they placed Buddha in the place of Christ and then incensed it and showed it reverence. A Benedictine protested and the police took him away ... There was obvious confusion in the faces of the Catholics who were assisting at the ceremony.” (“Confissões de um Cardeal,” Interview granted by Cardinal Oddi to Tommasco Ricci, 30 Dias, Nov., 1990, p. 64.)

Of Fatima’s Third Secret, Cardinal Oddi remarked, “It has nothing to do with Gorbachev. The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church.”

He explained more about the Secret in a March 17, 1990, interview published in Il Sabato magazine in Rome.

“I believe I knew John XXIII quite well,” he said, “since I spent a number of years at his side when he was at the nunciature in Paris. If the Secret had concerned realities consoling the Church, like the conversion of Russia or the religious rebirth of eastern Europe, I believe that he would have brought pressure to bear to make the Secret public.

“By temperament he did not hesitate to communicate joyful things ... But when I asked him during an audience why in 1960, when the obligation to keep the Secret secret had come to an end, he had not made public the last part of the message of Fatima, he responded with a weary sigh. He then said: ‘Don’t bring that subject up with me, please’.”

The Cardinal expressed his belief that John XXIII was not receptive to the Third Secret because its message probably conflicted with the dream of a “new Pentecost” that the Pontiff hoped Vatican II would produce.

“What happened in 1960 that might have been seen in connection with the Secret of Fatima?” asked the Cardinal. “The most important event is without a doubt the launching of the preparatory phase of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore I would not be surprised if the Secret had something to do with the convocation of Vatican II... I would not be surprised if the Third Secret alluded to dark times for the Church; grave confusions and troubling apostasies within Catholicism itself ... If we consider the grave crisis we have lived through since the Council, the signs that this prophecy has been fulfilled do not seem to be lacking ...”

Cardinal Oddi was also one of a nine-member Commission of Cardinals appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1986 to study the question of the Tridentine Mass. The nine-Cardinal Commission concluded:
1) The Latin Tridentine Mass has never been abrogated;
2) All priests have the right to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, and “the bishops cannot forbid or place restrictions on the celebration of the traditional rite of Mass, whether in public or in private.”

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Oddi.

Requiescat in pace.

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