Eight months before his death on January 8, 2011, Bishop Manuel Pestana Filho of Anápolis, Brazil addressed an international Fatima conference in Rome organized by Father Nicholas Gruner. Bishop Pestana told his audience that during the Second Vatican Council a committee went to see Sister Lucia, and he had the opportunity to submit to her the following question: Was there a relationship between the Third Secret of Fatima and the Council? Although Sister Lucia had to respond by saying that she was not authorized to speak on this matter, she was able to do so indirectly years later, on May 12, 1982 in her letter to Pope John Paul II.
During the Council, after 213 bishops signed a petition for the Council to condemn Communism, the Council leadership decided not to present the petition for discussion. However, in her letter years later Sister Lucia explained to Pope John Paul II that the Third Secret referred back to the Second Secret, to Our Lady’s prophecy that Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. This letter became known when the Vatican published the Third Secret on June 26, 2000. When questioned by a Polish reporter why the Vatican had delayed so long to publish the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger gave a reply that was analyzed in detail by Antonio Borelli Machado in an appendix to our study Fatima and the Third Secret. The future Benedict XVI explained to the Polish Vaticanologist that preparations were being made in 1960 for the Second Vatican Council, and since the goal was an opening up to the modern world, including with the Communist governments, the message of Fatima created a dilemma in the face of that objective. Cardinal Ratzinger argued that it was better to wait for time to pass, when at a later date events would provide more historical perspective.
When by 2020 nine bishops and three cardinals issued their well-known Appeal, the prophetic meaning of the Third Secret as explained by Sister Lucia in 1982 had become more obvious. The errors of Russia are no longer confined to the former Soviet bloc, nor even to Communist China, but have spread throughout the world, as various governments not only forced churches to close, but even deprived people of their livelihoods by obliging businesses to cease operating. Government was becoming the final arbiter of every aspect of human life, manifesting Russia’s errors worldwide the way Our Lady of Fatima had warned.
In the face of this worldwide crisis twelve members of the hierarchy of the Church have united to issue a prophetic appeal. They were subsequently followed in the United States by the bishops of Minnesota, who decided that they would not comply with government restrictions on opening the churches. However, shortly after the Minnesota bishops took this step, the city of Minneapolis became the scene of a police officer taking the life of a black man, sparking racial unrest throughout the United States. For Catholics this raises another question – that of the influence of the Church in society at large. Since the United States was never a Catholic country, it has historically lacked the full means that Catholic nations had to unite the different races. The result was racial tension in the United States that was exploited by Russian Communism, as explained by Bella Dodd in her book School of Darkness. Bella Dodd showed how the Russian plan was “not for the benefit of the Negroes but to spur strife, and to use the American Negro in the world communist propaganda campaign to win over the colored people of the world. Ultimately the Communists proposed to use them as instruments in the revolution to come to the United States.”
It is no longer the Soviet Union but other forces that try to increase tensions between the races. The twentieth century saw racial and ethnic conflict exploited in Nazi Germany. Although it would now be considered contrary to the spirit of ecumenism to mention this, its roots were in Martin Luther’s revolt. For the whole social order in society was affected by the Protestant Reformation. As Juan Donoso Cortés explained in Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism: “The real danger for human society commenced when the great heresy of the sixteenth century obtained a right of citizenship in Europe. Since then every revolution has endangered the life of society.”
The current social unrest in the United States is linked to what is happening worldwide, and it is only Our Lord, through His Mystical Body the Catholic Church, who can save society from worldwide chaos – from the errors of Russia about which Our Lady of Fatima warned us, but which are no longer exclusively Russian because they have become worldwide. Therefore it is not without reason that Maike Hickson, writing on LifeSiteNews, called attention to another voice from the hierarchy, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who attracted worldwide attention by leading the Rosary from St. Peter’s Basilica amid the coronavirus. Mrs. Hickson interpreted recent statements of Cardinal Comastri as a call for Catholics to acquire the apostolic zeal to convert the world to the Catholic Faith. The Cardinal’s appeal is in contrast, Mrs. Hickson concludes, with statements of Pope Francis when he has discouraged efforts to convert non-Catholics. As the worldwide crisis in society intensifies, it is becoming increasingly evident that the era of attempting to resolve society’s problems with mere dialogue, whether dialogue among religions or between the Church and governments – the period of Church history that began with the Council – is approaching its climax, and Divine Providence is calling Catholics to return to the Church’s missionary spirit. Increasingly there are voices being heard within the hierarchy, such as that of Cardinal Comastri, that point to a return to Tradition, and a growing consensus of the faithful is uniting Catholics behind these prelates.