Stating that “there is no fourth secret nor are there other hidden secrets,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, delivered a lengthy address on the Fatima apparitions at the Pontifical University Antonianum on May 7.
The 20th century, said Cardinal Amato, was expected to be a time of “reason and brotherhood,” but instead saw the beginning of an era of Christian persecution: “the Armenian genocide, the Mexican repression, the Spanish persecution, the Nazi massacres, the Communist extermination, and, in this first part of the third millennium, Islamist persecution.”
“The message of Fatima in a visionary way evokes this drama, raising the veil on concrete historical events” in which God’s Providence opposes Satan’s evil will, he continued.
The former secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith discussed the contents and history of the Fatima apparitions, including devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the First Saturday devotion. After reviewing the history of the third secret, Cardinal Amato said that St. John Paul’s reading of the third secret following the assassination attempt of May 1981 was the “decisive turning point of his pontificate.”
The prelate recalled that St. John Paul then entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome in June 1981 and again in Fatima the following year. In 1984, “in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world,” the Pope again entrusted the world to Mary, and this “solemn and universal act of consecration” corresponded to “the will of Our Lady,” Fatima visionary Sister Lucia affirmed in a 1989 letter.
In 2000, Cardinal Amato recalled, St. John Paul ordered the publication of the third secret, in which a Pope is shot dead. “Sister Lucia, referring to Mary’s protection of John Paul II, fully endorsed the statement that ‘it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death.”
After recalling Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s commentary on the third secret, Cardinal Amato said that “the mother’s hand, which led the bullet not to kill the Pope, indicates that there is no immutable destiny and that the power of faith and prayer can influence history: prayer is more powerful than bullets of a gun.”
Cardinal Amato concluded by offering two considerations.
First, “the secret of Fatima lifted the veil on the real opposition, on the plane of being and acting, between Mary, all-holy and effective cooperator with Christ, and the enemy of the good, the serpent (Gn. 3”14-15), the red dragon, Satan, the devil (Revelation 12:1-9), the anti-Christ (1 John 2:18; 2 Jn. 1:7).” Second, the message of Fatima is a powerful appeal to the good, and especially to holiness and forgiveness, which requires “sacrifice and mortification.”