‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will fall upon the quiet people who live in safety, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates’; to seize spoil and carry off plunder; to assail the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who are acquiring cattle and goods, who live at the center of the earth. (Ezekiel 38:11-12)
I must apologize for the delay. I have struggled with this article for some time because this is my very personal commentary on a thread that runs through the present crisis both in the Catholic Church and the world. Sincerely, I do not know where to begin but begin I must. Let me be absolutely clear that mine is NOT necessarily the opinion of any sites that may publish these thoughts.
Shepherds, prayers, one Archangel and a supernatural test
It was October 1917. The Great War in Europe was still raging. The Bolshevik Revolution and the killing of the Russian royal family were about to shake a world that was entering the most violent century in history. In Portugal, the Virgin Mary had promised the three little shepherds of Fatima that she would perform a miracle, a public miracle to show the world that God was still interested in the salvation of souls. God was sending mankind a warning, there is simply no other way to interpret the events of Fatima.
In my view, those apparitions of Our Lady had many layers of meaning. As usual, God was communicating through parables. Christ himself explained to his early disciples why he spoke in parables:
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given … And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them'” (Matthew 13:11,14,15).
Our Lady was preparing the Church for the scourge of Communism that was about to be unleashed on the world. Only 33 years earlier, a vision was granted to Pope Leo XIII at the end of a Holy Mass in his private Vatican Chapel: in that occasion the enemy of God asked for time and power to destroy the Catholic Church.
“The Pontiff suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about ten minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed (please notice this) the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As the Pope listened, he heard a conversation between Christ and the devil.
The devil: “I can destroy your Church.”
Christ Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
The devil: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Christ Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?
The devil: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Christ Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
That was not the first warning that mankind had of an impending century of death and destruction. Many previous apparitions of both Our Lord and Our Lady had provided important information about the days to come. This was perhaps the most dramatic because it concerned the Pope and through him, the whole Church. We had been warned many times about the murderous intentions of the enemy but now he knew the devil was going to use unprecedented powers to attack the flock of Christ. To achieve his goal the whole world had to be shaken as it was indeed shaken even to this day. The whole scene reminds us of another warning that Christ gave to our first Pontiff:
“And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. Who said to him: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me.” (Luke 22:31-34 DOUAY-RHEIMS)
This is NOT a coincidental connection. That was a request by the devil to have enough power to test Simon Peter’s faith. In spite of Peter’s protestations, Jesus prophesies that Peter will fail when tested to the limit. The lesson will be a hard one. That will begin to teach Peter how weak his human strength is. It is necessary for Peter to suffer a thorough humiliation, before the break of day (important prophetic detail) Peter will deny his Master three times, even in a vile manner. The remedy, the limit to the extent that the devil may “sift” Peter’s faith is given along with the test: Jesus will pray that Peter’s faith will make it through. Once the ordeal is over, Peter will have the strength to confirm the Church in its mission of saving souls.
The life of Peter appears to me as a prophetic map of what the Papacy will experience through the centuries to come. This event certainly seems to be a model of what the Popes following the pontificate of Leo XIII would have to live through. It is not a coincidence that 33 years after the warning of 1884, Saint Michael, and Our Lady began appearing to three little shepherds near Cova da Iria, Portugal. The presence of Saint Michael is evidence of God’s favorably responding to the prayer instituted earlier by Pope Leo XIII. It was also evident that the apparition of the warrior-archangel was a sign of an impending battle. That is exactly what the prayer requested: “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle …” The Great War raged in Europe, the Bolshevik Revolution was about to explode in Russia. By October 1917 the heavy sifting was about to begin and Jesus’ promise was fulfilled one more time: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not …”
In the divine parable built around the Fatima apparitions, God chose shepherds, even little children to give the shepherds of the Church a taste of the difficult century facing them. Yes, three innocent children had to endure unimaginable scorn, government pressure, doubts, even physical punishment, separation from family, suspicion, and yet, in a mysterious way they had the strength to communicate the message of Our Lady participating in the greatest miracle since the days of the Glorious Resurrection: the Miracle of the Sun.
In my view, this was also a scale model of things to come. The decades following the Fatima apparitions would bring trials for the Church that closely resemble the trials of the little shepherds. These days we live in anticipation of events of divine origin that were represented in advance by the Vision of Hell, and the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima.
If those were the scale models, imagine how awesome will be the realities they represent.
The Third Secret
Jacinta and Francisco died shortly after the apparitions but they left us their experience and their names. Jacinta is a name of Iberian origin that comes from the Greek word for hyacinth which is the stone that makes the 11th door of the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:18-19) One must note that the number 11 is of special significance in Scripture. It was at that hour that the king of Babylon received the divine warning described in Daniel chapter 5. It is also the hour when the enemies of Christ arrested Him at Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:36-56) The name Jacinta appears again at the apparitions of Our Lady in Garabandal, mysteriously connecting it with Fatima (we will examine that in detail later.) The name Francisco is the Portuguese-Spanish version of the Latin word “franciscus” meaning “little Frankish man” — that was the name taken by Saint Francis, a man that was assigned the mission to rebuild the Church of Christ at a time of great corruption and distress. It is also the name of Pope Francis who currently occupies the Chair of Peter. One of the first acts of the pontificate of Francis was to officially invoke the protection of Saint Michael over Vatican City.
The third seer of Fatima is Lucia dos Santos. Her name could be roughly translated from Portuguese as “light of/from the saints.” Lucia is a name that comes from Lucianus/Luciana, Roman names of Greek origin that basically mean “luminous” or “surrounded by light.” That was the name of Saint Luke the Evangelist, for example. Little Lucia (or Lucy) entered the novitiate and became a Carmelite nun. She continued to be visited by Our Lady and was given a “third secret” in addition to the other two secrets received at Fatima. That “third secret” was eventually written by Sister Lucia and placed in a sealed envelope that was sent to the Vatican with instructions from Our Lady to be opened by the Pope in the year 1960.
A message, but to whom?
Rivers of ink have flowed, dozens of books have been published, conferences pronounced, investigations proceeded around that envelope and the secret it contains. That is not a matter of my expertise and I would not dare to enter that conversation. It seems to me that the more I read about the Third Secret the more confused I am by the speculation surrounding it. Here I will reduce myself to the facts:
- The secret was written on paper, placed in a sealed envelope and sent to Rome, with instructions for the Pope of 1960 to open it.
- Pope John XXIII read the secret in 1960 dismissing it as not pertinent to his pontificate.
That is all I am going to take into consideration since those two points are NOT speculative in nature.
Why was Our Lady sending a letter in advance to a Pope still to ascend to the throne of Peter? Why didn’t she appear to the Pontiff of 1960 in person? Here is where my personal reflection begins. I hope to present my case clearly but I am not seeking to convince anyone.
I believe Our Lady was sending an unspoken message to the Church. She was also pointing to three important elements:
- The year 1960, when the aggressive satanic infiltration consolidated control of important areas of the Catholic Church,
- The reigning Pontiff at that time, Pope John XXIII, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli,
- The impending Council Pope John was about to inaugurate.
In my opinion, the apparitions of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Garabandal (1961-1965) and the messages communicated there to the four seers are the key to understand the purpose and aim of the Third Secret.
Brief introduction to the apparitions at Garabandal
San Sebastian de Garabandal (usually called simply, Garabandal) is a small village (population 300+) in the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. Similar to other places where Our Lady has appeared, the little village is peaceful and quiet. At the time of the now famous apparitions, Garabandal was known for the piety of its inhabitants. Simple life and pious prayer made Garabandal a rarity in the morally declining postwar Europe.
During the pontificate of John XXIII, on June 18th, 1961 four girls: Conchita González, Jacinta González and Mari Loli Mazón, all about 12 years old at the time, and Mari Cruz González (11), were playing together near the village. After taking some apples from a tree belonging to the town’s teacher they felt remorseful and decided to throw small stones towards a group of trees, imagining that the devil had tempted them to steal the apples. Then they heard the sound of thunder. Suddenly an angel bathed in light appeared before them. The angel said nothing and the girls, terrified by what they had seen, ran to the village church to inform the priest.
The angel appeared repeatedly to the girls over the following days. The date of the first apparition is perhaps important. That is the day the Church remembers St. Gregory Barbarigo who was once the Bishop of Bergamo, the Italian town near where Pope John XXIII was born. Pope John, who was devout of his hometown Blessed, had canonized Barbarigo as saint in 1960 exactly one year before the angel appeared to the little girls of Garabandal.
July 1st, on the octave of St John the Baptist and vespers of the Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady (Catholic Calendar of that time) the angel spoke with the girls for the first time revealing he was St. Michael the Archangel. He told the girls that Our Lady of Mount Carmel was going to visit them the following day.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to the girls as promised, beginning a series of more than two-thousand visits that extended from 1961 to 1965. There is plenty of information online about the Garabandal apparitions. Please read Garabandal the Truth Prevails for a more detailed analysis. Here I will limit myself to the main prophetic messages presented there by Our Lady.
- There will be a divine warning, an illumination of conscience to the world that will be seen and felt by all humans alive on earth
- One year after that warning, a miracle will leave a permanent sign at the site of the apparitions (“the pines”)
- If mankind does not repent and corrects course, a great chastisement will ensue.
On June 18, 1965, on the fourth anniversary of his first visit to Garabandal, St. Michael the Archangel appeared only to Conchita González to deliver an urgent message from Our Lady. The message sent shock waves through the Church at the time. Now in these dark days, we can appreciate its profound significance and understand Our Lady’s alarm: “As my message of October 18th has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over…”
The essential points of that message were:
- “Many Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are on the road to perdition, taking many souls with them.”
- “Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist.”
- “You [the faithful] should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts.”
Garabandal silenced. Why?
Conchita González went on to suffer greatly for communicating that. At the time, Catholic priests and other members of the hierarchy were held in great esteem. Spain was still healing the wounds of the bloody Civil War with hundreds of priests and religious executed by the various leftist factions. It was unthinkable for Spanish Catholics that religious men and women were anything but saints to whom ordinary people owed devotion and obedience. That pious attitude –as we have painfully learned since then– was the result of a grave lack of information.
Just to give a few examples: by 1960, Marcial Maciel Degollado had been ordained for more than a decade and Theodore McCarrick was beginning his career as a priest. Former Communist leaders Bella Dodd and Louis Boudenz, both Catholic converts, revealed that by 1954 there were already four Catholic Cardinals who were secret Communist assets. They also admitted to have placed thousands of young agents in Catholic seminaries all over the world. Such infiltration was a multi-pronged effort harking back several decades. Stalin had ordered the Church to be infiltrated by Communists of homosexual orientation as early as 1924. Masonic infiltration was already a problem since at least the mid 19th century. The Modernist pest could never be totally eradicated in spite of many efforts.
Back then, ordinary Catholics knew little if anything about the infiltration, but now we know that by 1960 the enemy of the Church had gained control of vast areas of the Catholic hierarchy all over the world. It was a successful takeover by stealth. Today, many believe that by the time of John XXIII, even the Papacy was compromised to some extent. The envelope containing the Third Secret was sent to the Pope ruling over the already divided Church. The breach was invisible to most humans but not to God, and certainly not to Our Blessed Mother.
In time, Conchita Gonzalez and the other visionaries were pressured by members of the Catholic hierarchy to sign a retraction. I can imagine why girls that young were put through such ordeal. Their witness was very dangerous for those infiltrating the Church. The Garabandal apparitions were never approved in spite of thousands of testimonies. Investigators did not even take into account the public nature of the many supernatural events that took place in the village from 1961 to 1965!
At this point, we can prudently conclude that early unveiling of misconduct among the clergy was raising red flags, alarming the unfaithful hierarchy. Decades have passed. Now that we are aware of the horrible accounts of depraved conduct in the clerical ranks, we can understand the warnings of Our Blessed Mother more fully. She was not making things up, of course!
Was Garabandal silenced and left without ecclesiastical approval because the unfaithful hierarchy feared being exposed? Did they influence the verification process? I for one strongly believe that to be the case. After reading the account of many experts sent to Garabandal, and the tacit instructions they were given not to report anything that could result in the approval of the apparitions, one cannot think otherwise.
A letter from Heaven
Looking back to what happened after 1965, to the consequences of the Ecumenical Council called by Pope John XXIII and its aftermath, we can surmise that perhaps Our Blessed Mother was sending a message not only to the Pope of 1960 but also to those among the faithful who were eagerly awaiting her words. The Pope dismissing a letter from Heaven and not revealing its contents is something to worry about. “This does not concern my pontificate!” said the Pope. Was Our Lady’s timing wrong? Did she make a mistake? Was the Third Secret a hoax? –None of that. Regardless of the exact content of that envelope, the most important revelation of that day was that a Pope dared to dismiss the prophetic counsel of the Mother of God. Why?
The answer came to us from Garabandal on the same year of the Second Vatican Council. If we read between the lines of the three main points listed above we can understand in essence what the Third Secret was all about. Allow me to guess the message that a few in the high echelons of the hierarchy read that day …
- “You are on the road to perdition, taking many souls with you.”
- “You are giving less and less importance to the Eucharist, a Divine treasure trusted to your care.”
- “The wrath of God will soon be upon you, make an effort to please my Divine Son.”
At the same time, the message sounded slightly different to the faithful who were made aware …
- That wolves had entered the hierarchy, (John 10:1-6)
- That it was imperative to renew the love and respect due to Our Divine Owner in the Eucharist, (Matthew 26:26-29)
- From that moment on (after the Ecumenical Council) the flock would be gradually abandoned by the hirelings and they had to start making an effort to hear the voice of the Divine Shepherd on their own. (John 10:11-18)
Jesus admonished those who did not want people to follow Him. He spoke to them in the Temple during the Festival of the Lights:
“I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:22-30)
The plan, now painfully evident, to hijack the Catholic Church to make her serve the agenda of those oppressing mankind, was in full motion by 1960. If we look back carefully in time knowing what we know now, we can plainly see that Our Lady was warning us of the troubles to come. By doing that, she showed she is doing the will of the Father:
“I am the One Who sees from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and all My will shall be done.” (Isaiah 46:10, DOUAY-RHEIMS)
God is in control
What are we to do now? How are we going to face the end of this last great attack of the forces of evil?
The instructions we have received are simple and straightforward.
- Do not follow novelties that disobey the Deposit of Faith. The Ten Commandments are still in effect even if every Bishop in the world disowns them. “But if even we or an angel out of heaven announce as gospel to you [anything] besides what we have announced as gospel to you, let him be accursed.” (Saint Paul to the Galatians, 1:8) Saint Paul did not write that for nothing.
- Let us renew in ourselves and treasure the Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist!
- Grow in charity to all but especially to those united to us in the True Faith by listening to the voice of Christ as it is heard in Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture. Do not even listen to heretical or unfaithful words.
We have to go through this final attack. We will be purified. We will be better when we reach the other side. The infiltrated troops of the enemy are nothing. They are there because God allows it. Remain in God’s grace and soon you will not see the enemy anymore. Remember the conclusion of the Parable of the Minas. Something terrible is going to happen to those who infiltrated the Church, thinking that they could snatch it from God’s hands.
“But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.” (Luke 19:27)