Dear Cardinal Bertone:
You and Me
And Please Don’t Mention Freemasonry
by Antonio Socci
Antonio Socci, a renowned author, challenges Cardinal Bertone
On the 90th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions (May 13, 1917), the time has come to say the whole truth and to lend an ear to Our Lady…
What a mistake! Who knows why Cardinal Bertone got himself into such trouble, getting the Vatican into a mess too! Personally, I should be more than happy that the Secretary of State (hence number two in the Church’s hierarchy) published a book, “The Last Seer of Fatima”, to refute mine, “The Fourth Secret of Fatima”. It is something unprecedented. Not even Dan Brown (Ed. Note: author of the blasphemous “The Da Vinci Code”)* had such an honor!
Evidently, my book must be really hot. The prelate lost complete control of the situation because — with many salutations to Christian charity — he claims my theses are “pure fabrications”, and states my inquiry would help “the ancient plots of Masonry to discredit the Church”. And the Cardinal menacingly continues “It astonishes me that journalists and writers who claim to be Catholic lend themselves to this game”. Eventually, he says that I’m a “liar”, and “someone who consciously lies.”
But unfortunately he doesn’t show how and when I actually lied. I only asked him to explain — to give just one example — why in his commentary on the Third Secret published by the Vatican he quotes a letter by Sister Lucy, but (without saying it) he omits a decisive phrase which would debunk his entire interpretation. By reporting this “oddity” (one of the many) in my book, I tried to save the good faith of the prelate by any possible means. But in his book, Cardinal Bertone not only doesn’t give any explanation for it, but he again quotes that “modified” letter in the same way. We’re dumbstruck. It’s simply not possible to use the documents that way! You are only scoring points against yourself!
The Core of the Dispute
But what is the core of our dispute? It resides in this question: the famous “Third Secret” of Fatima — which contains the prophecy regarding what is going to happen to the Church and to the world in the very near future — was it entirely published in 2000? When I started to conduct my inquiry, I was convinced that the Vatican had in fact published it all. But then I realized that the facts told me the contrary. As a matter of fairness, I had to take note of these facts, and decided to speak up and point out the incredible amount of “holes” and contradictions contained in the official version. Since the Third Secret is a mystery which for decades has caused a true psychosis within the mass media (and even within governments and the secret services), a prophetical text of the greatest importance for Christians (and for our future), a text which the Church gave credence to, after recognizing the most important Marian apparition of its history, I pointed out the necessity that the Vatican either clarify all the enormous “mess” (“pasticci”) contained in the official version, or publish the hidden text (as a recent Petition to the Holy Father written by Solideo Paolini asks for). During my inquiry, I had asked for a personal meeting with Cardinal Bertone, who, as an Archbishop, had a leading role in the publication of the Secret on June 26, 2000. Even though he knows me well, he denied me an interview and yet (Ed. Note: after Socci published his book on November 22, 2006)* he immediately activated himself to publish a book in reply to mine, which he accomplished during these past few days, in time for the 90th anniversary of Fatima.
No Straight Answers
The problem is that this book doesn’t give even one single answer to the questions I raised. On the contrary it causes further problems. I felt totally embarrassed while reading such a messed up and self-injuring response. For any author, being personally attacked by the Vatican Secretary of State without a scrap of evidence would be a notable success. But for me it is a disaster, because I consider myself first of all a Catholic before being a journalist. I would have preferred to be terribly wrong and to be confuted. Or I hoped that the Holy See would finally decide to reveal the entire truth about the Third Secret of Fatima, by publishing — as Our Lady requested — the still concealed part. Otherwise, I would have preferred to be ignored, snubbed, boycotted. But the only mistake, the only thing to avoid, is exactly what Bertone did: exposing himself publicly, without answering anything and, rather, adding new items which are disastrous for himself and for the Vatican.
What are They Afraid Of?
First of all, there is the problem of the “handling” of the Fatima witness, Sister Lucy: for years, everybody has been able to openly talk about Fatima except her, who, since 1960, was ordered to keep silent by the Vatican. What were they afraid of? Before the publication of the text, in 2000, the Pope sends Bertone to Sister Lucy in Coimbra. He will send him again in November 2001. Eventually, the prelate will come back to her in December 2003. These three personal meetings were the great opportunity to allow the last living seer, almost 100 years old, to leave to Christendom and to the whole human race her complete and most precious testimony about the most important Marian apparition in history: It was an epochal opportunity.
Not only to silence the many rumors and legends but also to protect the Vatican from charges of manipulation, Bertone should have recorded (or even better, to have filmed) these exceptional interviews, so as to leave them to posterity. Or, at least, he should have arranged a complete transcription of the questions and answers, which the seer would sign in order to avoid any future and foreseeable contestations.
But, incredibly enough, these three interviews, which lasted “at least 10 hours” — as the prelate says — were not recorded, nor filmed, nor transcribed. Today the prelate explains that he “took notes”. So, in the official documents of Fatima, only a few short phrases attributed to Sister Lucy are reported, phrases of uncertain credibility and not at all satisfactory, because he didn’t ask her the decisive questions, the ones which could be used for clarifying any doubt — or at least they are not reported by Bertone. In my book, I’ve asked him: why out of 10 hours of interviews, do you report just a few phrases of the Sister, which at the maximum last 4 minutes? What else did she say during all those hours? Why didn’t you ask Sister Lucy the fundamental questions, or why didn’t you report her answers? In his book, Bertone does not give any clarification about all this. And the worst thing is that he attributes to the Sister — who died in the meantime and cannot deny anything — some phrases which were never reported in the official document of the year 2000.
According to Bertone, regarding the text of the year 2000 the Sister said that “this is the Third Secret”, “the only text”, and “I never wrote anything else”. Why did Bertone never report such an important phrase in his official publication? And why didn’t the prelate ask the seer if she ever wrote the sequel to those mysterious words pronounced by Our Lady and indicated by that “etc.” (“In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc.”) which has always been considered by the Fatima scholars as the beginning of the Third Secret? It is really odd. It’s like the other new statement that now — and only now that the seer is already dead — the prelate attributes to her.
According to this new statement Sister Lucy, when informed of the attempt on the Pope’s (John Paul II) life in 1981, “immediately thought that the prophecy of the Third Secret was fulfilled”. Why on earth was such a crucial confirmation never reported in the official document? Why in the commentary by the Vatican which contained the text of the vision (with the “bishop dressed in white who is killed”), did nobody — neither Sister Lucy, nor Cardinals Sodano and Ratzinger, not even Bertone himself — explicitly write that the attempt on the Pope’s (John Paul II) life in 1981 was the fulfilment of the Third Secret?
No “Official” Interpretation
And why did Ratzinger say that such interpretation was just a mere hypothesis and there were no “official interpretations” by the Church, whereas today Bertone pretends to impose it as the official version? And in the letter to the Pope which was attached to the Vatican commentary and was written in 1982, one year after the assassination attempt, why did Sister Lucy explain that “we have not seen yet the final fulfilment of this prophecy” (of the Third Secret), but that “we are going there little by little with big steps”? Why, in that letter to the Pope, did not Sister Lucy even mention the attempt on the Pope’s life that had just taken place if in fact that assassination attempt was the fulfilment of the Secret?
Some people had claimed that Bertone neither recorded nor transcribed the interviews with the seer because this would have shown the psychological pressures applied against the cloistered Sister, in order to persuade her to endorse certain theses. These thoughts came back to my mind while I was reading a passage of Bertone’s book, in which the Cardinal remembers that at one point the seer was “irritated”, and she told him “I’m not going to confession!”.
What kind of question could Sister Lucy answer to so strongly? Maybe someone was reminding the old Sister of the ecclesiastical power, and hinting that she would “not get absolution”? We don’t know, because the prelate — who knows and remembers the Sister’s (quite tough) answer very well — says he literally “forgot” what his question was.
Jesus beseeched the “doubting Thomas” to believe. Today, many doubting Thomases disbelieve and ignore His Holy Mother's urgent Fatima Message addressed to the Pope and to all of us in the Third Secret.
The Fourth Secret Exists
It is evident that the “Fourth Secret” of Fatima (the hidden part of the Third Secret) exists and I think I’ve proven it in my book. There is not only the resounding revelation of an exceptional witness, Archbishop Capovilla, secretary of Pope John XXIII (and who was present with the Pope at the opening of the Third Secret), whose words were gathered by Solideo Paolini and about which — incredibly — Cardinal Bertone doesn’t say anything in his book. But there’s also the rest of my book. As regards that “censored” part, we know that it is written on a single sheet of paper, and not on four sheets like the text of the vision disclosed in 2000 (this fact was revealed by Cardinal Ottaviani, the right-hand man of Pope Pius XII and John XXIII, and today Bertone copes with it this way: “I don’t know what Cardinal Ottaviani’s words refer to”). But we even know the dimensions of that sheet of paper (9 x 14 cm), we know that it is contained in an envelope measuring 12 x 18 cm, we know that there are 20-25 lines of text, we know the dates (different from the text regarding the vision) on which the envelope was received in the Vatican and was read by the various Popes. And we know that — starting with Pius XII — it was not stored in the Holy Office (as the text of the vision revealed in 2000) but in the Pope’s apartment. There is the photographic evidence, published on October 18, 1958 in the magazine “Paris Match” by Robert Serrou, there is the testimony of the most confidential collaborator of Pius XII, Sister Pasqualina (“inside there, there is the Third Secret of Fatima”) and there is the testimony of Archbishop Capovilla (I published the document from the archive), who was sought out by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1963, because the Pope wanted to know from him where the “Fatima package” was. Msgr. Capovilla answered: “it’s in the right drawer of the desk called Barbarigo, in the bedroom.” And, in fact, it was found there.
To all of these testimonies, Bertone gives not one answer in his book, but in an interview: (he says) “The cinematographic reconstructions of the envelope hidden in the night table of the Pope are pure fantasies”. And why? He doesn’t explain it. In his book he adds an attack on me, because I would have suggested that the Secret foresees the “apostasy of the Church of Rome”, and of the upper hierarchy. First of all: Bertone should carefully read again what Jesus said to Sister Lucy in His apparition in August 1931. Furthermore, it’s not me who talked about apostasy, but Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Ciappi (“In the Third Secret, it is foretold, among the other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top”). An analogous concept appears in Sister Lucy’s words to Father Fuentes and in two statements by Cardinal Ratzinger. I only did my part as a journalist, explaining that many people interpret this apostasy in relationship to the effects of Vatican II.
Of course I can’t enumerate all the gaffes of this book because there isn’t enough space here. But there is room to report some of them. Bertone informs us that “Sister Lucy never used a computer”, for instance. It’s a valuable piece of information, because in an interview to Repubblica dated February 17, 2005, he had declared that Lucy “used, in the end, even the computer”. At the time, it had the purpose to give credence to certain letters by Sister Lucy dated 1989, which were not written in her own hand and which contradicted what she had previously declared about the “Consecration of Russia”.
Curiously, in his book the Secretary of State gives credence even to the rumors that, during the historical visit to Pope Wojtyla on December 1, 1989, Gorbachev pronounced a “mea culpa” in front of the Pope, whereas this allegation was officially denied by the Vatican Press Office (Sala Stampa) on March 2, 1998. On the other hand, today Bertone holds out as absolutely authentic even the explosive statements about the Third Secret which were attributed to John Paul II in Fulda, in November 1980, whereas the Vatican Press Office and even Cardinal Ratzinger denied them (“this meeting in Fulda is false, it never happened and the Pope didn’t say those things”).
Furthermore, Bertone takes care to say that “the interpretation by Cardinal Ratzinger” of the Third Secret “was not a dogma of faith”. But he lets his interviewer introduce Bertone’s thought this way: “his words, after so many interpretations of the Message of Our Lady …, are the imprimatur of a definitive version.”
Absolutely superior to Ratzinger. Obviously, the letter of the Pope to the prelate is used in the book as an introduction, even if the Pope only writes about things in general. For my part, I keep for myself the letter regarding my book which Benedict XVI wrote thanking me for the “sentiments that inspired it”. These words bring comfort to me, while I’m insulted by crude accusations of doing “the game of Masonry”.
* The words within each of the two sets of parentheses marked with an asterisk (*) are the words of the translator added for the sake of clarity.
Table of Contents