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Third secret ‘not essential to faith’

ROME (CNS): The Vatican’s top doctrinal official, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said the third secret of Fatima contains no dogma of faith and, like other private revelations, is “not essential” for Christians.

While praising Pope John Paul II’s courage in announcing the secret on May 13 and ordering its publication, Cardinal Ratzinger said Fatima needs to be kept in perspective in order to avoid “sensationalism”.

The cardinal made the remarks in an interview published on May 19 by the Rome newspaper La Repubblica. He said his doctrinal congregation, which was working on a commentary on the Fatima messages, expected to publish this and the full text of the third secret by mid-June.

The young Fatima visionaries said three messages were revealed by Mary when she appeared to them in 1917. The first two were made public decades ago, but the third, long rumoured to contain an apocalyptic prediction, has been kept secret until now.

During the pope’s recent trip to Fatima, Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano announced that the third secret involved a vision of a long war waged by atheistic regimes against the Church. It included a figure of a “bishop in white” who falls in a hail of gunfire, which was presumed to be a reference to the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul in 1981.

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