mercoledì 16 novembre 2016

When the Church and the World are One

 The Secrets of Fatima

 “When the Church and the World are One, these days will be close at hand.  For our divine Master has built a wall between His things and the things of the World.”

St. Anthony of the Desert  (4th Century)



I give you the end of a golden string,
 Only wind it into a ball:
 It will lead you in at Heaven's gate
 Built in Jerusalem's wall.”   William Blake

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 13, 1981, the “Popemobile”, not yet fitted with the now-familiar Plexiglas shield, slowly traversed St. Peter's Square in observance of the weekly General Audience.  In it stood John Paul II, dispensing his blessings to the crowd of 20,000 which was parting like a sea of humanity at his feet.  Out of corner of his eye, he saw a young woman wearing a white blouse which seemed to radiate sunlight from out of the deepening shadows of the waning day.  In that light, the Pontiff thought he glimpsed an image of the Blessed Virgin ― could it be a picture which the girl was wearing?  As he turned to get a better look, a 9mm bullet grazed his right elbow; then a second slug ricocheted off his left hand and ripped into his abdomen.
As the Holy Father lost consciousness, he was heard to whisper in Polish, “Mary, my Mother ....”  It was 5:17 p.m., the exact time at which Karol Wojtyla had been elected to the papal throne on October 16, 1978.  Inexplicably, his ambulance was directed to the more distant of the two local hospitals, Polyclinico Gemelli, where he was administered last rites before surgery.  By the time he arrived at the hospital, he had lost six pints of blood.  In the massive transfusions that followed, the Pontiff would be infected with hepatitis from a tainted supply of blood mistakenly used by the doctors.
Meanwhile, back in St. Peter's Square, the would-be assassin was grabbed by a Franciscan nun and wrestled to the ground by the crowd.  He turned out to be a 23-year-old Turkish national named Mehmet Ali Agca, a member of the so-called “Turkish Mafia”, which controlled drugs and arms smuggling in neighboring Bulgaria.  Agca was also associated with a group of right-wing terrorists in his homeland known as the “Gray Wolves”, at whose behest he participated in the assassination of a liberal newspaper editor in Istanbul in 1979.  Arrested for that crime and sent to a top-security military prison, Agca “escaped” (or, more likely, was allowed to escape) three days before John Paul II was to arrive in Turkey for a papal visit.  In a letter to the newspaper the day after his jail-break, Agca announced his intention to shoot the Pope and stated, “this is the sole motive for my escape from prison”.[1]
In view of the young Turk's known contacts with the Bulgarian secret service and John Paul's support for the emerging anticommunist Solidarity movement in Poland, the Bulgarians and their Soviet masters became the focus of the conspiracy investigations which followed the shooting.  Yet the CIA's monitoring of encrypted cables between Moscow and the KGB's Rome station indicated that the news of the attempt of the Pope's life was unanticipated by the Soviets.  Furthermore, a report issued by the CIA's Papal Task Force in 1985 concluded that, by May 1981, Moscow had already worked out a modus vivendi with the Polish Pontiff, and so had little to gain from his death.[2]  As for Agca himself, while he is subject to bizarre delusions (e.g., claiming at times to be Jesus Christ), it is intriguing that, when the Pope visited him in his jail cell in 1983, the prisoner implored his victim to reveal the “mystery of Fatima”.  And during his trial for attempted murder and conspiracy in 1985, Agca testified that his hail of gunfire at the Pope was “linked to the Third Secret of the Madonna of Fatima”.[3]
By what stretch of the imagination could Fatima ― a series of six apparitions of the Virgin Mary witnessed by three Portuguese children in 1917 ― be linked to a papal assassination plot in 1981?  During his long convalescence in the hospital, Papa Wojtyla would ponder a number of connections between the two events, beginning with the correspondence of the date of the shooting in St. Peter's Square with the liturgical Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  May 13th was the date on which the vision of the Virgin had first appeared to the three young shepherds at the Cova da Iria near the village of Fatima 64 years earlier.  The children were instructed by the Virgin to return to the same spot on the 13th of each month for the next five months.  Her apparitions culminated in the “Miracle of the Sun” on October 13, 1917, when some 70,000 onlookers beheld a series of wondrous solar transformations which many described as a “dance”.  John Paul also mulled over the last thing he remembered seeing before feeling the searing pain of his wound ― the luminous image of the Blessed Mother.
Anyone familiar with the writings of Karol Wojtyla knows the man to possess a razor-sharp analytical mind, not at all given to flights of supernatural fancy.  Yet, as he hovered between life and death after the shooting in St. Peter's Square, he experienced a “prodigy” ― a vivid visual reenactment of Fatima's “Miracle of the Sun”.  In the midst of this vision he sensed the terrible agony which would grip the Church in the wake of his assassination.  A courageous man who had faced down ruthless tyrants in his native land, John Paul did not fear death, especially if his blood might in some way inspire the spiritual renewal which he knew Catholicism so desperately needed.  But here he was confronting the most bitter of ends ― with the foreknowledge that his death now would precipitate the calamitous wreckage of the See of St. Peter.  As he felt his life slipping away, in his prayers he begged to be reprieved, to be given the chance to banish the dread shadows of things to come which had been cast upon his dying eyes.
When he awoke some days later and found himself miraculously recovering, the Pontiff's first action was to direct the Vatican's Holy Office to copy and send to his hospital room all of the accounts of the Fatima apparitions written by the principal witness, Lucia dos Santos.  Included in the documents which arrived a few days later was a single sheet of paper, consisting of some 20 handwritten lines.  It was the fabled Third Secret of Fatima.
            Lucia dos Santos ― her name means the “light of the saints” ―  is still living today in Fatima as a Carmelite nun known as Sister Lucy.  She is last survivor of the three young shepherds who encountered the Virgin in her family's pasture in 1917.  Her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, both died within three years after seeing the apparitions, just as had been foretold to them by the spectral Lady.  During the third of the six apparitions, on July 13th, the Lady directed the light emanating from her hands downward, seemingly into the Earth's interior, revealing an infernal domain peopled by demons and damned souls caught in a vortex of flaming fury.  This horrifying vision lasted but an instant, after which the Virgin spoke to the two girls of future events, instructing them to tell no one except Francisco (who could see the Lady but could not hear her words).
Lucia would keep the secret until 1941, when she received an inner “locution” from the Virgin giving her leave to publish all but the last of its three parts.  Two years later, a severe bout of pleurisy nearly ended Sister Lucy’s life.  Fearing the loss of the final part of the message, now known as the “Third Secret”, the Bishop of Fatima asked her to write it down and seal it up in an envelope, so that it might be read if she died.  After much agonizing and another visitation by the Lady, she complied with the Bishop's request in January 1944.  She forwarded the sealed envelope to him with the instructions that it was to be opened by the Pope and read to the World in 1960, “because the Virgin wishes it so”.
But, for reasons that will become clearer as we proceed in this inquiry, the Vatican refused to disclose the Third Secret in 1960 and continues to suppress it's full content to this day.  All the popes since John XXIII, as well as a few cardinals, have read the contents of Lucy's envelope.  John Paul II is reported to have read it shortly after his inauguration in October 1978.  Indeed, several months before the shooting in St. Peter's Square, the Pope had spoken quite candidly to a group of Catholics concerning the Third Secret.  What he said at that time sheds considerable light on how the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, would later fit into his interpretation of the Fatima message.

Renewal in Blood


While conversing with a small group of pilgrims in the cathedral square of Fulda, West Germany, in November 1980, the Holy Father was asked to explain why the Third Secret had not been published in 1960, as the Lady of Fatima had directed.  John Paul responded that “the gravity of its contents” was such as to possibly provoke a hostile response to its release from the “world power of Communism” (the Soviet Union), and hence the Vatican had seen fit to defer its publication “out of diplomacy”.  He alluded to a portion of the message “where it is said that the oceans will entirely flood certain parts of the earth, and that from moment to moment millions of men will perish”.  A question was then posed concerning the fate of the Church in Fatima's apocalyptic scenario.
John Paul: “We have to be prepared to suffer, before long, great trials which will require of us the disposition to sacrifice even our life ... for Christ.  Through your prayers and mine, it is still possible to diminish this trial, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only in this manner can the Church be effectively renewed.  How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood!  It will not be different this time.”[4]

In passing, we should note the Pontiff's frank acknowledgment that diplomatic concerns have preempted the publication of the Third Secret.   This shocking admission underscores a principal theme of our book: the shameful degree to which the political role of the “sovereign” papacy has come to overshadow and undermine the spiritual mission of the Church.  Incredibly, the Vatican pronounces the Fatima message to be the authentic revelation from the Blessed Mother, while in the very next breath they declare that their obedience to the plain directives of that message must be indefinitely postponed for reasons of international diplomacy!    For the moment, however, let us suspend further consideration of the themes of Communism and catastrophes in the first part of the Pope's 1980 comments in order to focus on the “great trials” and the “renewal of the Church” of which he spoke so dramatically at the time.
What are we to make the extreme urgency of the Pontiff's words with regard to this “renewal” ― a “renewal” which he anticipates paying for with his own blood?  On the superficial level, the Church of Rome at the turn of the 21st Century seems to be riding the crest of a wave of prosperity and popularity which it has never before known in its 2000-year history.  An appearance by the Pope anywhere in the World ― not just the Christian World ― can fill a stadium more quickly than a World Cup match or a rock concert.  The Holy Father has become an icon of popular culture, his writings even dominating the best-seller lists of secular literature.  Nations and governments which short decades ago afflicted the Church and treated its vicar with mistrust now universally accept and recognize the sovereign See and admit its representatives as full participants in the their highest diplomatic conclaves.
What then can be so terribly wrong with the Church that the Pope sees such an absolute need to fix it, even at the price of his own life?  If the truth be told, all of what we have just recounted as to the unprecedented acceptance of the Church by the World and its institutions are the surest signs of the spiritual crisis that it faces.  By way of illustration, we may recount an anecdote involving Pius X (1903-1914), the first Pontiff of the 20th Century to be canonized. “What are the distinguishing characteristics of the Church?” he once asked a group of young novices.  After they had dutifully exhausted the gamut of standard answers ― it is Apostolic, universal, etc. ― Pius informed them that they had omitted the most essential trait: “It is persecuted.”   The true message of Christ can never be received by the World with anything but the most violent antagonism, because it teaches the utter vanity of worldly pursuits and prophesies the ultimate downfall of the proud and powerful.  Hence, the Church which is no longer persecuted by the World is a ship which has lost its spiritual compass.
The decline of the Faith which has spread through the Church like a cancer over the last four decades is, however, recognized by the Vatican hierarchy only by its outward symptoms: the precipitous drop in priestly vocations, Mass attendance, and virtually every other index of the strength of the creed.  Perhaps the most devastating aspect of this trend is buried in the statistics ― the appalling deterioration in the moral quality of many men of the cloth.  Would the priesthood of barely a generation ago have winked at the presence of known pederasts in its midst?  In the words of Pope Paul VI in 1977, the “smoke of Satan” has filled the Church and ascended “even to its summit”.
Apostasy ― loss of faith ― is most damaging when it strikes at the shepherds of the flock.  Just as it is no “coincidence” that Mehmet Ali Agca fired his bullets on the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, so we must consider the significance of the date on which the Lady of Fatima chose to confide her great Secret to the young shepherdesses at the Cova da Iria.  July 13th is the liturgical feast of St. Anacletus, the third Pontiff of Rome, who selected as his papal name the Greek word amencletus ― meaning “beyond reproach”.  St. Paul in his Epistle to Titus writes:
a bishop must be blameless (amencletus)... not given to filthy lucre; ...Unto the pure, all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; ...They profess that they know God; but in their works they deny him, being abominable...[5]

And indeed, the corruption of those who, like the Pharisees of old, hold themselves out as spiritual leaders, effectively blocks the path to salvation for all of the people of God: 
You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves nor suffer ye them that are entering to go in.[6]

Evidently, judging from John Paul's remarks at Fulda, the Third Secret of Fatima addresses this unprecedented crisis of faith and even predicts its onset in the latter decades of the 20th Century.  This would explain Our Lady's desire to have the message revealed in 1960, when a veritable epidemic of apostasy began to sweep across the globe.  And there are hints that the Church “renewal” that will resolve this great crisis may involve the martyrdom of one or more popes.  Certainly, even before the attempt on his life in St. Peter's Square, Karol Wojtyla believed himself to be destined for such martyrdom.
Why?  Part of the lore surrounding his papacy is the tale of his pilgrimage in 1974 to the monastery of Padre Pio, the famous Capuchin stigmatic.[7]   Padre Pio was said to have the faculty of “reading consciences”.  When he heard confessions, penitents did not need to verbally recount their sins ― the holy man could somehow look into hidden recesses of their souls.  He was also known to possess the gift of prophecy.  When he heard the confession of then-Cardinal Wojtyla ― so the story goes ― Padre Pio told him that he would become pope ... and that he would one day be assassinated.
Therefore, when John Paul II first read Sister Lucy's handwritten note sometime late in 1978, he was not able to toss it aside with the dismissive remark, “this does not pertain to the years of my papacy”, as John XXIII reportedly did in 1959.  He may even have been aware that the revelation of the Secret of Fatima was accompanied by an eclipse-like dimming of the Sun's light, such that witnesses reported seeing a starry sky.  We know that Karol Wojtyla was born during a solar eclipse, and the Latin phrase applied to him by St. Malachy's prophecy means “the eclipse of the Sun”.  Interestingly, the astronomical records of the time disclose that the Virgin's appearance on July 13, 1917, was actually bracketed by two solar eclipses within a month of each other, on June 19th and July 19th.[8]   This extremely rare phenomenon (successive solar eclipses usually occur about six months apart) marks the end of a thousand-year series of eclipses and the beginning of a new cycle.
It is likely, however, that the new Pontiff's initial interpretation of the Third Secret was heavily prejudiced by the reactionary pundits who have virtually monopolized the field of Fatima “expertise”.  This school of thought casts the Blessed Virgin as a Cold Warrior of sorts, warning the World that in the ideologies of socialism, Bolshevism, Communism ― the list is often extended to include liberalism, modernism, Freemasonry, and even “Judeo-masonry” ― lies the road to hell and damnation.  From their vantage point, the Third Secret (regardless of what it actually says) necessarily reads like a script for World War III.  Their “script” features an armor-clad, Amazonian Mary drawing up the battle lines of Armageddon, pitting the forces of the Light on one side against the loathsome legions of Red atheism on the other.  Understandably, Karol Wojtyla, who had experienced Stalinism at its ugliest, would have found the scenario of an apocalyptic showdown between the Church and world Communism plausible.  It also jibed with his fatalistic notion that the vicar of Christ might be called upon to lay down his life to secure the final victory.
Against that background, the Pope's seemingly disjointed remarks concerning the Fatima Secret in Germany six months before his near-assassination begin to make some sense.  Yes, he realized, the Third Secret calls for a revolutionary spiritual renewal of a Church whose corrupt hierarchy has forfeited its legitimacy.  But, “No,” he insisted, “the Church cannot be reformed at the present moment”.[9]   He balked at immediate reform, believing that, in the ensuing leadership vacuum, the Red adversary would seize the advantage.  Convinced that the principal enemies of the Faith were external to the Church ― with those subverting it from within being merely their henchmen or dupes ― John Paul would have logically concluded that the demise of Marxist atheism would inexorably usher in a Christian renaissance.  And perhaps he even anticipated that the martyrdom presaged for him by Padre Pio would be the last act of atrocity which would topple the monstrous megalith of godless Communism.
Whatever the Holy Father may have seen when he glimpsed into the abyss from his hospital bed in 1981, it definitely disabused him of the notion of a Soviet Antichrist.  Assuming that the dying Pope had, during his “prodigy”, peered behind the curtain which conceals events to come, what would he have likely seen?  In retrospect, the answer seems fairly obvious.  Regardless of the ultimate proofs, the blame for his death would have fallen on the Russians.  The outrage of the international community would have driven the U.S.S.R. into a posture of extreme isolation, making the “glasnost” opening of a few years later unthinkable.  Ironically, the death of John Paul II would not have hastened the collapse of Soviet Communism.  It would have prolonged its death agony, perhaps to the point of a world-wide conflagration.  Viewed in this light, what John Paul perceived as the Blessed Virgin's intervention to save his life had possibly saved the whole planet as well.
When Papa Wojtyla visited Fatima on the first anniversary of the shooting in St. Peter's Square, therefore, it was not only to thank the Virgin for his own life, but to thank her on behalf of the entire human race for having “averted our disaster...”.[10]   The Lady of Peace had broken through the wall of silence imposed by the Vatican hierarchy and had begun to unfold her great Secret ― her own design for spiritual renewal without bloodshed ― on the stage of human history.  Incredibly, within a space of seven years, the bogeyman of Red Russia would recede with virtually no carnage.  The Berlin wall would topple without the firing of a shot.  Masses commemorating the anniversary of Fatima would be celebrated within the Kremlin itself.  And John Paul II, the unbending enemy of Communism, would become the first Roman Pontiff to receive the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. in the Vatican.
Withholding the Secret, against Our Lady's wishes, is what the Pharisees of Rome must do to perpetuate their ill-gotten power and wealth.  To justify their defiance of God's will, they invoke the instinctual fear of the future that runs deep in the dark recesses of the human mind.  Patronizingly, they assure the flock that the knowledge is not good for us, it involves fearful “chastisements” and nightmarish cataclysms, which are the price to be paid for the World's sinfulness.  The fervent desire of the people of God to hear the Virgin's message is ― so they tell us ― simply a lust for sensationalism, sinful in itself.
Surely, the time of purging and purification of which the prophets have long written is close upon us now.  We are all painfully aware of Man's crimes against his brothers and sisters, and his wanton violation of the Earth and her creatures.  But the most unpardonable crime is the one that Man has committed against himself, in the negation and denial of his own divine Spirit.  All of this must soon be reconciled as the accounts of the passing Age are settled and those of a new Age are opened.  We may choose to refer to these accounts as “sin” or “karma”.  But the reality is that they constitute an energy imbalance, a metaphysical tilt which must be righted and centered before the God-Man can return and begin his Millennial reign of peace.
The celestial Virgin comes to us at this juncture, “in the fullness of time” as the Scriptures express it, to offer us her alternative to the karma of blood and retribution ― her option of Grace.  As the descendants of Adam, we all share in the consequences of humanity's Fall from Grace.  That Fall preordained the sacrifice of the Son of Man on the Cross of Golgotha ― so that the Consciousness which had lapsed into the dream of Time might again be lifted up “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness”.[11]  To bring the Son of Man into the World, however, God needed to open a “space” in Time for the Eternal, a “place” in the finite for the Infinite.  This “place” is what Catholics describe as the Immaculate Heart ― a vessel preserved for Grace in the World of sin.  Regardless of doctrinal niceties as to how this belief relates to the historical Mary or the circumstances of her physical conception, it is solidly grounded in the bedrock of spiritual Truth common to all God's children.
As we shall see, the message of Fatima is universal, although expressed in the language of Roman Catholic theology as befits the cultural setting of the revelation.  Like the Christian Trinity, the Secret is One which reveals itself as Three.  Each “part” of the Secret is dependent upon the others for its meaning, and hence we cannot expect to understand the so-called Third Secret in isolation from the other two parts.  Moreover, a thorough analysis of the first two parts of the Secret will enable us to construct the essential aspects of the undisclosed third part as well.  Let’s begin, therefore, with the first formula in the Lady's threefold option of Grace ― the devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

The Immaculate Heart


The Immaculate Heart of the Virgin is an image steeped in the most ancient traditions of the human Spirit ― the Holy Spirit of the Christians and the Ruach HaQadosh of the Jews.  When “the Spirit is upon him”, so to speak, Man has always seen himself as part of a collective Being: the God-Man.  The Egyptians associated this God-Man with the Sun, and called him by the name Ra ― the One, He who Is.  But Ra is not knowable as the One, because the One encompassing All cannot contemplate Itself.  To know Itself, the One must engender Two and thereby become, with the Two, a Triad or Trinity.  Now, when we say that the One “engenders” Two, we employ that particular verb very aptly, because contained within it is the word “gender” ― precisely the quality which is inherent in duality.
When the Jews came out bondage in Egypt, they became the keepers of this inspired wisdom, and hence they were the people who received the new infusions of the Spirit for a time thereafter.  In the books of Moses, we read of the creation of Adam, who is “male and female”,[12]  initially embracing within himself Eve.  Later, the Hebrew prophets would teach of a Son of Man, one of the lineage of Adam, whose coming would complete the threefold cycle of Creation.  In the interval between the splitting of the One into Two and the advent of this Redeemer to complete the Trinity, however, the principle of division appears ― a principle embodied in the Snake of the Garden.
In Genesis this Snake is described as the “most subtle of animals”.  It’s worthwhile to give some thought to the chosen adjective “subtle”.  Our modern usage associates the meanings “crafty” and “deceptive” when this term is applied to a sentient being.  And so the Snake is a deceiver, because duality is illusory.  Although it “exists” in Time, and for a time, it does not partake of the Eternal, the That which Is.  But even more to the point is the Latin etymology of the word “subtle”.  “Sub” signifies “beneath”, while “tela” is the “web” formed by the crossing on a loom of the woof across the fixed threads of the warp.  Only by the reunion of the divided threads of Being do they again become Real, that is to say, do they again partake of the Eternal.  Beneath the crossing ― the “tela” ― wrought by Consciousness, is the primordial Chaos of Matter which predates Creation and is always operative within it.  This is the Snake, the Adversary of the redemptive crossing, the Divider, the Limiter, the “self” in each of us which separates us from God and frustrates our return to Him.[13]
The Egyptians related all of their sacred knowledge to the concept of crossing, which was symbolically expressed in crossed arms of their mummies.  This is a gesture which we have inherited and unwittingly continue to mimic in the preparation of our own dead for their journey back to the Eternal, or “Net”-er world.  To the principle, or Neter, which opposes the crossing, the Egyptians gave the name Set, from which the Semites derived their Shaat and the Gentiles their Satan.  In the pagan pantheon, the same qualities were embodied in the Roman god Saturn and his Greek counterpart Cronus.  The name Cronus directly invokes the concept of Time, and indeed, Saturn is still depicted as the Scythe-wielding Father Time.
The Fall brought about by the Serpent, then, is a fall out of Eternity into Time.  Consequently when we talk about redemption, we necessarily speak in eschatological terms ― in terms of the “last times” or the “end of Time” ― because Time is only that interval between the division of the One and the realization of the Trinity.  In that interval Set/Satan/Saturn exists.  His activating principle ― the principle of Time ― is karma, or “sin” in Judeo-Christian terminology.  It is the principle of the vegetative/animal World, the relentless alternating cycles of birth and death.  In ancient Egypt it was mythically portrayed in the dismembering of Osiris by his rival Set and the scattering of his body parts into the Ocean of primordial Chaos.  Symbolically, therefore, the Light of the Spirit is disseminated in the formless void of Matter, where it awaits the incarnation of the Word.
This incarnation of the Word thus represents the freeing of the soul from its bondage to the Law of karma, which corresponds to the bondage of the Jews in Egypt.  Just as the soul’s servitude to the principle of Time is reflected in a false temporal consciousness, so the promise of the soul's liberation reflects itself in a distinctly spatial consciousness.  The latter is an intelligence which the Pharaonic sages associated with the heart.  For an individual, of course, the physical heart is the nourisher of the carnal body, and in the same way the metaphysical Heart of redemptive Space is the nourisher of the divine Body of the God-Man.  If we contemplate the Christian icon of the God-Man affixed to the Cross, we find the Heart at the center of the mystical crossing.
With the influx of the Holy Spirit, the Mind awakens from the dream of Time and is lifted aloft to the pinnacle of Grace, the mountaintop from which it may see in all directions at once.  Freed from the illusion of sequential past, present and future, Consciousness ascends on the wings of Horus, the Hawk of the Nile.  Once having taken flight, it can survey from above ― at one and the same moment ― the entire landscape which is visible only in sequential installments to the traveler on the road below.  It is thus that Grace confers the gift of prophecy, which is the living knowledge, the living water which the mystical Heart receives from above and transforms into the consecrated wine, the blood of the Lamb, which flows from the Heart to feed the divine Body.
They will never hunger or thirst again;... because the Lamb who is at the heart of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to the springs of living water; Revelation 7:16-17[14]

In the Holy Land, Mount Carmel is literally Karim-El, the “Vineyard of God”, the birthplace of the Virgin whom the Angel Gabriel addresses by the name Kecharitoméne, meaning “Full of Grace”.  Gabriel announces to the woman who is “Full of Grace” that the Spirit of the Most High will come upon her as a cloud.  The same pillar of cloud had gone before Israel as they came out of Egypt and had shrouded the top of Mt. Sinai when Moses received the tablets of the Torah.  As this cloud covered Mary, so it had covered the Ark of the Covenant, and so it would be witnessed, some 3400 years later, to cover the three young shepherds of Fatima each time they encountered the apparition who ultimately revealed herself as the “Lady of Mt. Carmel”.  From the very beginning of the Virgin's divine mission, then, she is associated with a sacred landscape, a network of consecrated sites which are to mark the way through the spiritual desert of this World to the gate of the New Jerusalem.
We do well to recall, however, that the people of Israel did not pass directly from the land of their bondage to the Promised Land.  Rather, in the absence of their prophet Moses, they fashioned for themselves a golden calf and were abandoned by the guiding pillar of cloud to wander aimlessly in the desert for forty years.  Accordingly, Man's fallen condition is one of idolatry, because he perceives Creation to be external to himself, rather than positioning his Consciousness at the center, in the Heart, where it may receive the in-spiration of the breath of God.  This mistaken perception of an external objective universe induces humanity, thoroughly deluded by egocentric pride, to spurn the guidance of Grace.   Instead mankind prostrates itself before the altar of “empirical” Science, the false god which ridicules inspiration and recognizes only knowledge based on observation.  Modern man does not “breathe in” his experiences, does not take them into his lungs and let them infuse their energy into the contents of his heart.  Instead, he approaches cold, dead matter as an “observer” and seeks to put his hands on it, to possess it, to make it obey his will and divulge its secret laws to him.
As a result, mankind now finds itself wandering in the desert for a term much longer than the forty years of the Israelites.  Like Achilles chasing the Tortoise, our vaunted Science seems always to be within a step of the Grand Formula that will explain everything.  After making astounding strides early in this race, however, empirical Science in our era finds its quarry increasingly elusive, its solid, objective universe evaporating into a haze of mere probabilities.  Advanced thinkers in the sciences are even beginning to concede that they have erred in attempting to separate the conscious observer from the “objective phenomenon”.  The underlying truth is that Mind and Matter become Real only to the extent they “cross” one another ― each reciprocally occupying for the other the invisible, all-defining point at the center, the place of the Heart.
Our soul instinctively seeks to repose in the sanctuary of that Heart which did not partake in the Fall from Grace ― in the unblemished, or Immaculate Heart of our collective female Body of Light.  Once we find this blessed sanctuary, we are no longer caught up in the whirlwind which rages at the circumference of the sphere of incarnation.  We may withdraw from this infernal vortex ― the sight of which so terrified the Fatima seers ― and instead enjoy Our Lady's blessed peace in the eye of the storm.  Here we find the turning point, the metaphysical axis of the temporal World.  Here the principle of harmonic resonance applies, whereby an infinitesimal force applied at the center can shape huge forces at the periphery.  It is this principle, by the way, and not massive manual labor, which explains the monumental architecture of the Nile Valley.  And it is this principle which the Virgin of Fatima taught in the first part of her great Secret. 
By devotion to the contemplation of the Immaculate Heart, we may begin to access the power of the stillness, of the “null point”, to direct the energies swirling around it.  The most notable contemporary example of the exercise of this power is the inexplicable survival of eight Jesuits whose home was a mere eight blocks from “ground zero” of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945.  When interviewed on American television and asked to account for this apparent miracle, one of the survivors responded: “In that house, we were living the message of Fatima.”[15]
Now it becomes clear why the Lady of Mt. Carmel prefaced her revelation of the great Secret at Cova da Iria with a vision which the young shepherds described as “hell”.  Recall that she directed the supernal Light which emanated from her palms downward toward the “center” of the Earth.  Because of our fallen condition, we perceive ourselves as existing on the circumference of a spinning globe of dead matter whose axis lies within a fathomless Abyss.  But the truth is that this Abyss lies at the periphery of a spiritual universe whose real axis is in the Heart of our divine Body.  Even a comparative handful of souls consecrated to the Immaculate Heart can, through their spiritual exercises of devotion, restrain the fury of the vast centrifugal forces whirling at the periphery.  Here we find the profound meaning of the Catholic dogma of the Communion of Saints:  the penance and reparations of the few can effect the salvation of the many.  And here we again encounter the irrepressible reality of Man's collective spiritual nature.   Our separateness is but the illusion of the temporal World, the World of duality, the World which Set/Satan rules.
Throughout human history, the wisdom of the Heart has been preserved by a tiny, persecuted elect.  Beginning in the mid-19th Century, however, the World ― sensing that its time was growing short ― launched a furious war to eradicate this wisdom.  Many visionaries, including Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), have told us that the God-Man will not intervene to end this persecution until he returns again in glory at the end of Time.  For the people of God, these times are like the fourth watch of the night for the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee, when they were menaced by a sudden tempest.  Jesus was not with them in their small boat, since he had remained behind in the nearby hills to reflect upon the recent martyrdom of his cousin, John the Baptist.[16]  In a previous episode, the Apostles had been similarly beset by raging winds and waters after Christ had fallen asleep in the boat.[17]  It seems fair to infer that this scenario is repeated in the Gospels for emphasis.  Symbolically, these stories address the predawn, or “fourth watch”, of the long night between the Passion of Christ and his triumphant return, or Parousia.  They speak to “latter times” in which the God-Man tests the faith of his disciples.
Since we know that God does not engage in idle diversions, we must ask ourselves: what is the purpose of this “test of faith”?  It has been said that Christ seeks to associate Man to His great redemptive Work, and that it is only through such collaboration that Man can actualize his divine potential.  True faith cannot be passive; this is the teaching of the Gospel stories concerning the stilling of the tempests.  True faith must be active, both externally and, more importantly, internally.  On the Sea of Galilee, the Apostles acted, in the external sense, by calling upon Christ ― and that is indeed all that is required of Man in the way of outwardly-manifested action.  Where the Apostles failed, however, was in their fear, and it was for this fear that their Master chided them, “Where is your faith?”.  The violent chaos of the elements ― of the World without the divine presence ― had invaded their souls and recreated its tempest within their own hearts.
The ultimate question, then, and the only one that really matters, is simply this:  “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”[18]  For the past 150 years, a vortex has been forming.  Our own lifetimes have witnessed its destructive fury building to a crescendo, spreading its spiraling tentacles like a black hole, and drawing into itself ever greater multitudes of humanity:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...[19]

As fewer and fewer souls find their way to the stillness of the Heart, its power to restrain and control the swirling maelstrom of the World is weakened, causing the gyrations of the vortex to expand and accelerate.  On the mundane level, we all observe this in our daily lives:  time seems to pass more and more rapidly ― so rapidly in fact that we humans of the late 20th Century have completely lost control of our lives.  We no longer live in Time; we are possessed by it, picked up and carried along helplessly in its raging wind.  As this tornado increases in velocity and its pull becomes more and more irresistible, the number of those who remain faithful to the Heart diminishes still further, and along with it the restraining force at the center.  Our Science calls such a process, in which disorder feeds back upon itself in an escalating spiral, “chaos”.
Like the runaway calliope in the finale of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, the brakes will soon enough be applied to the whirligig of Time.  Just how destructive and cataclysmic that climax turns out to be obviously depends on how far out of control the calliope manages to get.  This explains why the Fatima prophecies of future human sufferings are all contingent upon mankind's continued refusal of the option of Grace, its insolent rejection of the sanctuary of the Immaculate Heart.
Much of what we take for “reality” in this World is in fact illusion.   The underlying principle by which our World operates is something that modern physics calls “symmetry”.  This principle dictates that every phenomenon which appears in the physical universe must be accompanied by another phenomenon which exactly negates it.  When matter is created, for example, it must be accompanied by an equal amount of “anti-matter”.  Sooner or later, matter encounters anti-matter, and they totally annihilate one another.  So this is a zero-sum game we are dealing with here.  The physical universe is actually a non-entity living on “borrowed Time”.
Let’s see if we can apply this principle of symmetry to the acceleration of Time which is occurring in our era ― at the cusp of the Ages, so to speak.  On one hand, we experience an increase in the velocity of Time, but it’s accompanied by an offsetting attenuation of the scale of Time.  We’re seeing two “symmetrical” processes unfold simultaneously: Time speeds up, while the intervals by which we measure Time get shorter.  Once again, it’s a zero-sum game in which one process offsets the other and the overall effect is an illusion.  To appease its insatiable appetite for “more time”, our errant culture feverishly subdivides Time into ever more rarefied and hollow moments.  In its limitless lust for dominion, the World now seeks, as it were, to wring out of the fabric of Time the blessed intervals of Eternity which occur between the ticks of the clock.
Unless and until it descends into total chaos, however, the World remains tied to the cycles of the higher planes of existence.  While we can arbitrarily divide our cyber-Time into nanoseconds and megahertz, there will always remain a celestial clock which we can’t “adjust”.  On that clock, a “day” is always the interval between the Sun's successive noontime crossings of the meridian (i.e., the sky’s imaginary north-south axis).  Similarly, a “year” can be nothing but the interval between the Sun's successive northward crossings of the Earth's equator at the vernal equinox. Thus, the process of “crossing” again comes into play as the means by which the cycles of our temporal sphere are attuned to the harmonics ― literally the music ― of the progressively more sublime spheres above us.
In its movements throughout each year and through the precessional Age of about 2000 years, the Sun weaves across the surface of our globe a “net”-work of crossings.  These crossing points, or “nodes”, are places where our planet opens itself to celestial influx.  In the surviving megaliths of the prehistoric World, of which Stonehenge is the most notable example, we find evidence of a dawning consciousness that these nodal points act as gateways of the Spirit.  Apparently, however, this consciousness did not emerge soon enough to avert the Deluge which largely swept away the traces of mankind's “antediluvian” civilization.  Obviously, then, the question presents itself to us:  Is the same fate in store for our own civilization?
Virtually on a daily basis, each of us commiserates with our fellows over the unbearable intensification of the “pace” of our existence.  We have come to resign ourselves to this ever-accelerating and increasingly inhuman and maddening tempo as if it were an inherent fact of life.  Our so-called leaders tell us that these wretched conditions represents “progress”, that we are becoming more competitive, “lean and mean”, etc.  We are exhorted to instill this same frenzied ethic in our children lest they turn out “losers”.  The World pursues this interminable speed-up by dividing Time ever more minutely.  The “sound bites” of human experience become more and more ephemeral.  We become the deformed creatures of a cyberworld, living our lives in increments of nanoseconds.
But, unlike days and years, nanoseconds bear no relation to the higher planes of Consciousness which proceed toward the Spirit.  “The Time,” as Prince Hamlet observed, “is out of joint.”  It has ripped loose of its moorings in the cycles of the Heavens and has proceeded without bearings upon the Ocean of primordial Chaos, the “sub-tela” realm beneath the web of solar crossings, the domain of the “subtle” Serpent of Genesis.
In Genesis Yahweh speaks of the “enmity” between this Serpent and the Eternal Woman, who is Eve in the Fall and Mary in the Redemption.  He prophesies a great battle in the end-Time between the Serpent and the Woman, a battle in which she and her progeny will ultimately prevail.[20]  This, then, is the spiritual context of the series of public apparitions of the Virgin which began in La Salette, France, in 1846, and continued in Lourdes a decade later.  In the wake of Fatima, similar apparitions have recurred in Garabandal, Spain, in 1961, and Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, beginning in 1981.  In each case, there is a basic message which she repeats: she is restraining the hand of her Son from crushing the Snake, because, as things now stand, the Serpent would drag a large portion of mankind down with it.  To fully appreciate the content of this message, we need to focus on how it’s been delivered and to whom.  Invariably the seers are children or adolescents living in a “backwater” culture insulated in some measure from the international juggernaut of “progress” and its attendant acceleration of life’s pace.
At Fatima, each of the six appearances of Mary commenced exactly at solar noon ― the moment when a particular spot on our spinning globe is passing through the plane defined by the center of the Sun and the axis of the Earth.   Unlike the homogenized “standard time” which has been imposed on humanity in this century, solar noon represents a uniquely local time, occurring at one and only one precise meridian of longitude at any given instant.  In rural Portugal of 1917, everyone except government officials still reckoned time by the position of the Sun in the sky.  The three young shepherds reported that they heard the midday Angelus prayer bells of the local church each time they caught sight of Our Lady's approach.  Before the last apparition ― the “Miracle of the Sun” ― Lucy announced that Our Lady would appear, as she had previously, promptly at “noon”.  By this time, the Lisbon newspapers had picked up on the story, and a multitude of some 70,000 curiosity-seekers descended upon the village of Fatima on October 13, 1917.  The crowd of mostly city-dwellers became restless when the Virgin failed to materialize at noon, standard time.  Another hour passed, and a priest from Lisbon produced a watch showing the “official” time to be already past 1 p.m...  In what would prove to establish a pattern of ecclesiastical disbelief and obstruction, the priest declared the whole affair to be an “illusion”, and tried to drive the three children away from the site just moments before the Virgin actually appeared there.[21]
What is the significance of the repeated appearances precisely at solar noon?  Local or solar noon is the one moment of the day at which the temporal point of reference is “lifted up”, so to speak, from the axis of the turning Earth to the center of the Sun ― the cosmic emblem of the God-Man.  We see here a symbolic rendering of the option of Grace:  Time itself may be redeemed, and the Serpent of the Fall may be raised upon the Cross to become the caduceus of mercy and healing.  Karmic retribution, i.e., the annihilation of the Serpent, is not the only alternative ― unless we chose it to be so because we willfully reject the Heart of Grace which our heavenly Mother offers us.  Tragically, however, the true message of the Immaculate Heart is being systematically perverted.  Many within the Catholic Church who claim to be advocates of the Fatima message speak of “chastisements” which it is “too late” to avert.  They speak this way out of fear ― the internalization of the tempest of temporal chaos.  When Christ “awakens”, as he did on Lake Tiberias, will he not ask of them also, “Where is your faith?”.
Christ's pardoning of the thief crucified at his right side teaches us that the moment of Grace, the symbolic solar noon, can never be “too late”.  It occurs outside of Time, without reference to the infernal axis churning in the dark Abyss of Matter.  Indeed, Scripture specifies that, on the spiritual plane, one thousand of our years is “as one day”, and “as a watch in the night”.[22]  The latter simile clearly recalls the night on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked across the raging waters, speaking the words: “Be not afraid”.  “Be not afraid” is also the very first phrase which the Virgin spoke to the young shepherds at Fatima in 1917 and La Salette in 1846.  With these same words, the angel Gabriel introduced himself to Mary at the Annunciation ― a dialogue which Catholic ritual recalls each day in the Angelus prayer at solar noon.  Suspension of fear is the necessary prerequisite to hearing the message, since fear binds the soul to the turbulent rhythms of the fallen World.  Although adult observers accompanied the three children during several of the Fatima apparitions, all that they could hear when Mary spoke was a “buzzing sound” ― the type of sound produced by speeding up an audio recording.  Similarly, the witnesses reported hearing a thunderous “boom” when the apparition approached ― a phenomenon familiar to us in the era of jet aviation as the “sonic boom” associated with rapid acceleration.       
According to the witnesses, the Fatima apparition approached the site from the East in the form of a luminous globe of light, which always came to rest upon the top of the same small holm oak tree.  From this perch, Our Lady enveloped the children in “a cloud” ― also visible to outside observers ― and would infuse certain visions directly into them through the light which emanated from her hands.  This light seemed to be gathered and reflected from above, as though her outstretched palms were acting as a parabolic mirror.  It was exactly in this way that the image of the “dancing Sun” was projected upward into the sky during the October “Miracle”.
In his encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater, John Paul II likens Mary to “a mirror in which are reflected in the most profound and limpid way 'the mighty works of God'”.  The Pope, whose Marian piety is deeply rooted in his Slavic identity, also writes of her lovingly as Stella Matutina ― the Morning Star:
For just as this Star, together with the Dawn, precedes the rising of the Sun, so Mary, from the time of Her Immaculate Conception, preceded the Coming of the Savior, the rising of the “Sun of Justice” in the history of the human race.[23]

Reading this beautiful image, we may surmise that the Holy Father was, unconsciously perhaps, recalling that the Virgin of Fatima displayed a glittering star on the hem of her garment.[24]  In the ancient World, the title “Morning Star” belonged to the planet Venus.  Because of its brilliance, Venus is often visible in the predawn sky ― i.e., at the end of the “fourth watch of the night”.  Astrology, the mystical legacy of the antediluvian World, teaches that Venus, whose symbol is the mirror, rules the Zodiac sign Libra, the Scales of Justice.  In the mystical Kabbalah of the Jews, Justice mediates the path between Severity (Gevurah) and Mercy (Chesed) ― the two opposing scales of the Balance.  The theme of Justice is even more directly linked to the Virgin Mary in the words of the Magnificat, the song which spontaneously welled up in her heart as the Holy Spirit impregnated her:
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.[25]

Between each of the three successive parts of the Secret of Fatima there is a connecting theme.  Connecting the first and the second parts is the common “thread” of Justice ― or, perhaps better said, the cross-woven threads of the option of Grace and the option of “preference for the poor”, which together comprise Justice.  As we might expect, the error of dualism ― the delusion fostered by the Serpent ― seeks to separate these two threads.  Prophecy foretells that, in the latter times, they will in fact be separated and embodied in the two Beasts of Revelation.  More regarding that later, but for now we must observe that the “preference for the poor” without Grace ― the theme of the second part of the Secret ― is the error of Russia.  And Grace without “preference for the poor” ― the theme of the third part of the Secret ― is the error of the institutional Church.  The polarization of these two elements of Justice was reflected in the polarization of the World in the 20th Century, a polarization epitomized by utopian materialism on one side and soulless piety on the other.
When the weave of reality begins to unravel and the threads separate, the result is a dissociated “causal state”, i.e., a condition in which the elements or “threads” become free to combine in new ways to be determined by a new influx of energy.  The sacred Science of the Egyptians referred to such a causal state as “exaltation”.  In Roman Catholic theology, this corresponds to the doctrine of Mary's perfect receptiveness to the infusion of the Holy Spirit, as to which the modern dogma of Mary's exaltation, or Assumption, is a nothing more than a logical extension.  In her aspect as the Morning Star, for which Venus was the pagan prototype, the Virgin is astrologically “exalted” in Pisces, the sign of the precessional Age which is now drawing to a close.  With the unraveling of Justice, the Virgin's adversary also achieves the virile “causal state”.  Accordingly, we find that Saturn is exalted in Libra, the sign of Justice.
As we have discussed earlier, Saturn was a Roman god who inherited the role of the Egyptian demon Set, the adversary of the Light.  Interestingly, the Classical pagans engrafted yet another layer of abomination onto this spirit of darkness ― making their Saturn the devourer of his own children!  In this respect, we are reminded of King Herod's Massacre of the Innocents, which drove the Madonna and Child into hiding in Egypt.    A still more ancient precursor of Saturn is the Ammonite idol Moloch, who consumed burnt offerings of children.  Saturn, and Moloch before him, were Titans ― not mere giants, but rather collective beings, monstrous parodies of the Body of the God-Man.  Indeed, we may aptly say that Moloch is the diseased collective Body of fallen Man, and he appears to us in historical times as the Nations of the World ― the Nations whose warfare has consumed some 100 million of their own children in the past nine decades.
All this being said, let us now read the first part of the Secret of Fatima, as transcribed by Sister Lucy:
You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them, God wishes to establish in the World devotion to My Immaculate Heart.  If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.  The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.  When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to you by God that He is about to punish the World for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.[26]

Having, I hope, adequately probed the mystery of the Immaculate Heart, let us now follow the transition which the foregoing quotation makes into the next portion of the great Secret.  The second part of the Secret is actually a prophecy concerning the suicidal warfare of the 20th  Century ―  a series of visions leading up to the apocalyptic “Judgment of the Nations”.

The Judgment of the Nations


If we refer back to the quotation from John Paul II, in which he compares Mary to the Morning Star, we find that he also links her symbolically to the “dawn”, insofar as she precedes the rising of the “Sun of Justice”.  In the Song of Solomon, the Bride, who prefigures the Blessed Virgin, is also identified with the dawn:
Who is this arising like the dawn,
fair as the Moon,
resplendent as the Sun,
formidable as an army?[27]

As we shall have reason to discuss further in connection with the Third Secret, this same imagery of the Woman rising before the Sun figures prominently in the apocalyptic scenario of St. John's Revelation.  But for present purposes, let us focus on the “dawn” as it relates to the second part of the Secret.  While we today tend to use “dawn” as a synonym for the actual rising of the Sun, in ancient parlance “dawn” connoted the glow of light that appears in the sky just before the sunrise.  Accordingly, in the Greco-Roman pantheon, Dawn was personified as the goddess Eos or Aurora, who rode her rosy chariot into the predawn sky to herald the arrival of her brother Helios or Sol.
A well-known tale of Classical mythology involves Aurora and Orion, a figure familiar to us from the constellation which bears his name.  Since the Greeks derived most of their mythology from Egyptian antecedents, it bears mentioning that Pharaonic theology regarded the constellation Orion as depicting Osiris, whose bodily resurrection prefigures the God-Man.  At any rate, the myth relates how Orion was blinded, as punishment for having ravished one of the seven Pleiades, and was instructed by an oracle to sail in the direction of the sunrise, where Aurora restored his vision.
With this background in mind, let us consider the portion of the Fatima prophecy which speaks of a “night illumined by a unknown light” ― a sign of impending war to be given during the reign of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939).  On the night of January 25, 1938, most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced what was surely the most unusual and bizarre manifestation the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, ever reported in human history.  This Aurora appeared as far south as Galicia, Spain, where Sister Lucy was then cloistered, and she, the only survivor of the three Fatima shepherds, recognized it immediately as the sign, the “unknown light” of which Our Lady had spoken.  Visible even to Pius XI in Rome, the unprecedented Aurora was accompanied by a “crackling” sound, possibly attributable to electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere, but interpreted by most people as the sound of combustion.  Indeed, in many areas of Europe, panic broke out, as the populace concluded that the World was on fire and that the End had come.[28]  Less than three months after this prodigy of Nature, Hitler's army invaded and occupied Austria, and for all practical purposes, the Second World War had begun ―  just as Our Lady had predicted.
As we have learned from our study of the first part of the Secret of Fatima, the timing of the Virgin's signs often discloses a great deal about their significance.  In the Church's liturgical calendar, the date of the portentous Aurora January 25th ― is the feast of St. Ananias, who was called upon by God to go to the house of Saul, the zealous persecutor of the early Christians, after he had been blinded by an epiphany of Christ along the road to Damascus.  Ananias miraculously restored Saul's vision, then consecrated him to be Christ's “witness unto all men” ― the Apostle Paul chosen to disseminate the Word to the Nations of the Gentiles.[29]
First of all, the reader can now perhaps appreciate why we went to some lengths discussing the role of the Greek goddess Aurora in restoring sight to Orion.  At this juncture, we might also do well to point out that, having received the divine gift of vision, the fabled Orion is pursued for the rest of Time by Typhon ― the Greek version of Set/Satan ― in the form of the Scorpion, whose constellation can in fact be seen to follow Orion across the night sky.   According to the myth, Orion is another of the race of Titans ― those colossal collective bodies of humanity which we now know as the Nations.  Reading all of these elements together, we may now glean the full meaning of the Virgin's sign in the heavens in 1938:  the Judgment of the Nations had begun.
Before we proceed any further, it is essential that we understand the nexus between the Judgment of the Nations and the option of preference for the poor.  When Christ concludes his prophecy against the unrepentant cities of Galilee ― the symbolic precursors of the recalcitrant Nations of the Gentiles ― he blesses his Father for having kept these secrets hidden from the “learned and clever” and having “revealed them unto babes”.[30]  Thus does Christ takes pains to distinguish his wisdom from the “wisdom” of the World:
The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men, and the weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men.  Consider that you, my brothers [the Apostles], have been called, but that not many of the men who are considered wise, mighty, or noble after the ways of the flesh are called.  Instead, God has chosen those who are fools in the eyes of the World to shame the wise; He has chosen those who are weak in the eyes of the World to shame the strong; yea, and those who are despised and who count for nothing in the eyes of the World, such has He chosen to bring to nought the vanities of the World.[31]

From these words of St. Paul we may deduce that the Word of Christ is far more radical than the most audacious manifestos of the political Left.  His preference for the “poor” embraces not just the economically oppressed, but all of those whom the World belittles and rejects!  This is how the people of God have always been chosen, from among the beggars, the lame, the lepers, the blind, the wretched ― and this is how a new people of God will be chosen in the latter times ― our times.  In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, we find a clear allegory of the Second Coming: the Master leaves his vineyard to the tending of tenants, who proceed to murder his servants and finally his son, until at last the Master returns to install new tenants.
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the cornerstone of the building.  Therefore I say to you [the Pharisees] that the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a Nation which will bring forth its fruit.[32]

While, as we shall see, the prophecy of imminent divestiture of the Pharisees of Rome and selection of a new people of God is at the very core of the Third Secret of Fatima, it is a theme which runs through the second part of the Secret as well.  This portion of Our Lady's message informs us that Christ has appointed a Nation to be the cornerstone of his new edifice, his reconstituted Church, his new people.  Like his previous elections ― the oppressed tribes of Israel and the enslaved provinces of the Roman Empire ― we can expect this one to defy all “rational” expectations.  Indeed, we must expect that the Nation preferred by Christ for the gathering of his latter day Apostles is the very “stone which the builders cast aside”, a Nation whose spirit and identity have been thoroughly stigmatized and reviled by the World.
Given the coincidence between the date of the Lady's “unknown light” and the feast of St. Ananias, we should also anticipate that this election will follow the pattern of Saul/St.Paul, i.e. the consecration, as the chosen instrument of propagating the Word, of those who had previously been the most violent opponents of the Word.  With this in mind, let us peruse the actual text of the second part of the Secret of Fatima:
... When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the World ...  To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays [ of each month].  If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the World, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.  The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.[33]

The land of the Northern Lights, Russia is expressly identified as the Nation to be “consecrated”.  To consecrate something is to set it apart from all other things of its kind and to declare it to be the special possession of God.  As for the consecration of a Nation, the writings of Moses leave no doubt as to what this signifies, for the prophet presents us with the exemplar in Yahweh's consecration of Israel at Mt. Sinai:
Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.[34]

Ironically, the Catholic hierarchy and most of its official expositors of the Fatima message have assiduously fostered the notion that the consecration of Russia was intended by the Virgin as some kind of anticommunist prophylaxis, a stigma upon it as the shameful tool of Satanic atheism.  Indeed, over the years there have been several Papal “consecrations”, ostensibly intended to fulfill the Fatima directive.  In each case the Pope has “consecrated” the entire World and has referred disparagingly to Russia as a nation “particularly in need of consecration”.[35]  Without any exaggeration whatsoever, we may characterize these as “anti-consecrations”, because they seek to accomplish the exact opposite of what the true consecration of Russia implies.  Instead of setting Russia apart from the rest of the fallen World as a “holy nation”, the popes have pronounced their preference for the World and have “consecrated” it ― with Russia singled out for reproach.  Not surprisingly, this Orwellian approach was initiated by Pius XII (1939-1958), a man who was often more attuned to politics than to God.  A devotee of the extreme Right, Pius unabashedly endorsed virtually every fascist dictator in Europe, including Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain, and even the Nazi puppet Petain in Vichy France.
If the truth be told, the Vatican's outrageous distortion of the consecration of Russia, as referred to in the second part of the Secret, is impelled by the same motive which explains their suppression of the Third Secret.  Obviously, the idea that Russia is to become the cornerstone of Christ's new spiritual edifice implies that the old edifice ― the Church of Rome ― is to be stripped of the Keys which were entrusted to St. Peter.  Like the Pharisees before them, the Vatican hierarchy would seek to silence any bearers of such a message, even the Son of Man Himself and his Blessed Mother.  Hence, the public portion of the Fatima revelation implies, and the still-secret part confirms, that the corrupt upper hierarchy of the Catholic Church is to be discarded, as were the wicked husbandmen in Christ's parable.  Included in this category would be all of the Church offices and titles which clearly lack a basis in Scripture: the Curia, the College of Cardinals, and the Sovereign Pontiff.  The renewed Church would be ruled, as was the Church of St. Peter, by its bishops, among whom the Holy Father, as Bishop of Rome, is merely first among equals.
Nonetheless, we encounter here somewhat of an enigma, in that Russia, the apparent seat of the renewed Church, has historically adhered to the Orthodox Christian rite, from which Rome separated in 1054 AD.  If the second part of the Fatima prophecy designates Russia as the Nation of the new people of God, however, we have no choice but to conclude that the consecration of Russia will involve a reunion of the Eastern and Western churches.  This is one more factor which is implicit in the second part of the Secret but is expressly revealed in the Third Secret.  In fact, the explicit mention of the reunification of the Roman and Orthodox rites in the Third Secret is what led John XXIII, the first Pope to read it, to conclude that it referred to events in the distant future.
But let us not get too far ahead of our story.  Going back to the text of the second part of the Secret, we notice that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of Russia in July 1917, but instead announced that she would “come to ask” for it.  One lesson the reader has surely learned by now, having labored so far in this treatise, is that we will be rewarded if we dwell on every nuance of what the Lady says.  In this case, further inquiry uncovers that the Blessed Mother again appeared to Lucia dos Santos on June 13, 1929, twelve years to the day from the second apparition at Fatima.  While praying in the convent chapel on that night, Sister Lucy had a vision of the Holy Trinity which poured forth, in letters of lustral water, the words “Grace and Mercy” at the foot of the Cross where stood Our Lady of Fatima.  As we have discussed in connection with the first part of the Secret, “Grace” and “Mercy” ― a.k.a. “Charity” or “preference for the poor” ― are the crossed threads that weave together as Justice, personified in the Lady whose Son is the “Sun of Justice”.  The Blessed Virgin spoke to Lucy, telling her that the consecration of Russia should be made by “the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the World”.[36]
Now, if we think of the full implications of this command, it provides us with another important piece of the puzzle.  First of all, the only means by which the pope can act “in union with all the bishops of the World” is at a General Council of the Church ― the only setting in which Il Papa assumes his proper role as the Bishop of Rome.  Since 1414, when the Council of Constance was called to resolve the Great Schism between Rome and Avignon, there has been no legitimately convened General Council of the Church.  In modern times, we have had two “Vatican Councils”, which were exactly what the title implies, i.e. affairs to which the episcopate was invited to dutifully endorse the agenda of the infallible pope.  But, alas, the irresolute Paul VI let Vatican Council II (1962-1965) get a bit out of control, thus allowing Conciliarism to again rear its head ― to the horror of the devotees of the Infallible See.  Do we see in all of this the makings of another Great Schism pitting the “traditionalists”, who reject the very tentative steps of Vatican II toward Conciliarism, against the “modernist” proponents of lukewarm reform?  The traditional camp certainly seems to view a major schism ― perhaps as soon as the Church Conclave after the death of the current Pontiff ― as a forgone conclusion.[37]  On the other side, the liberal faction, while characteristically less forthright, also anticipates that ― the next Conclave will be the most difficult and perhaps the most protracted of modern times.[38]
Once again, therefore, our careful scrutiny of the second part of the Secret has netted us an element of the elusive Third Secret: an apparent mandate for the convening of a General Council of the Church.  This explains why John XXIII caught the Vatican hierarchy totally off-guard by calling for a Council in 1960, soon after he had read the Third Secret and in the very year that Our Lady had instructed it should be disclosed to the World.  Furthermore, if we combine this “clue” with the previous one concerning the reunion of the Eastern and Western churches, it suggests why John specifically styled his gathering an “Ecumenical” Council.  There is certainly a strong inference here that the Third Secret asks that the Pope convene a General Council consisting not only of the Roman Catholic bishops, but all of the bishops of the Eastern Churches as well.
Given that the Virgin's “requests”, up to this point, have all been couched in an “or else” format, we would not be amiss to surmise that the same may be true here.  In that case, the gist of this portion of the Third Secret might go something like this: “The Pope must call a General Council to resolve the schism with the Eastern churches, or the Church of Rome will be faced with a new schism, far more devastating than any it has known before in its history.  Either way, the Council will ultimately be convened, and my people will be united again before the Millennium of Peace arrives.”
Going one step further along this line, if such a Great Council is to be held between the divided churches of the East and West, where would it likely be convened?  For reasons that should be obvious, certainly not in Rome.  But what if the Pope were to make the gesture of reconciliation by offering to go to Russia and to consecrate it, in union with all the bishops of the World, Eastern and Western, as the hallowed land of the Immaculate Heart?  We can test this thesis by going a little bit further in the text of the Secret.  After the second part, dealing with the consecration of Russia and the alternative of war and annihilation of several Nations, Our Lady went on to disclose what we now call the Third Secret.  Suppose for the moment that the Third Secret asks that the Pope go to Russia to convene an Ecumenical Council, the first act of which would be the consecration of the host Nation.  Would this fit in with the text which follows?
.... [text of the Third Secret]
In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the World.[39]

The “fit” seems plausible, at least as a working hypothesis.  Now let's go back to the remainder of Lucia's vision of 1929.  After the instruction from Our Lady that the consecration of Russia is to be made at a General Council of the Church, Sister Lucy relates that she heard Christ's voice saying:
They did not wish to heed my request. Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late... the Holy Father will have much to suffer.[40]

One might guess that the “King of France” referred to here is Louis XVI, and that happens to be right.  On June 17, 1689, the seeress St. Margaret Mary had a vision of Christ in which he asked that the King of France erect a church in which to consecrate himself to the Sacred Heart.  Today, Sacré-Cœur Cathedral dominates the Montmartre section of Paris, but it took regicide and an empty throne to inspire the Bourbons to fulfill the request.  As if for added emphasis, June 17, 1789 ― exactly 100 years from the date of Christ's request ― was the day the Third Estate proclaimed itself the National Assembly and the unleashed the bloody French Revolution.
Given this background we may infer that, by being dilatory in fulfilling the Virgin's injunction, the popes invite for themselves a fate similar to that of the 18th Century Bourbon kings of France ― namely, to someday see one of their own martyred and the Chair of St. Peter stand, for some interval, empty.  The idea that sede vacante ― a vacant Papal throne ― is part of the “or else” scenario in the Third Secret is very intriguing, because it conforms so neatly to a voluminous body of Christian prophecy dealing with the coming of Antichrist. It is here that we begin to venture into the darkest recesses of the Third Secret of Fatima.

The Third Secret


The first reference to Antichrist we find in sacred literature is in the “little Apocalypse” of the Gospels.  Before prophesying the coming of the Son of Man ― the Parousia ― in the latter times, Christ warned the Apostles:
There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and great wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.[41]

We should note that, from its earliest inception, the prophecy of the coming of Antichrist ― the “false Christ” of Jesus' warning ― assumes that he will be accompanied by a “false prophet”.  This duo happens to match the pair of apocalyptic Beasts that are appear in Chapter 13 of Revelation, where Antichrist and his ecclesiastical companion are described as the Beast of the Sea and the Beast of the Earth, respectively.  As good students of the first part of the Secret of Our Lady of Fatima, we should be very comfortable with idea that Satan ― or Set, the Snake, the dragon ― should manifest himself in a duality.  We know that he is the principle of duality, of duplicity, and that as such he must both come before the principle of Trinity and, for a time, oppose the Coming of the Son of Man, which will complete the realization of the Trinity.  By definition, then, the parousia of Antichrist must precede the Parousia of Christ.
Unfortunately, Christ's well known warning has resulted in somewhat of a morbid obsession over the past 2000 years with speculation as to who this Antichrist is and when he will appear.  Just as Man forgets that the Son of Man is his Brother, he forgets also that the Man of Sin is his brother as well, just as Cain was the brother of Abel.  And so we look always for the assault of iniquity from outside of ourselves, never recognizing that the mystery of iniquity is already enshrined in our own hearts and minds.
In the time of St. Paul, it was widely believed that the Roman Emperor Nero ― a specimen of vileness who murdered his own mother for political advantage ― was Antichrist.  Indeed, the name Nero Caesar in Hebrew gematria[42] works out to the infamous number 666.  The speculation was so rampant on this score that St. Paul was obliged to write a letter explaining that the parousia of Antichrist could not be happening yet, because the events which must precede it had not occurred:
That day [the Day of the Lord] cannot come before the rebellion [apostasia] against God, when the Man of Sin will be revealed, the Son of Perdition, the Enemy.  He rises in his pride against every god, so called, and every object of men's worship, and even takes his seat in the temple of God, claiming to be God himself... you must now be aware of the restraining hand which ensures that he shall only be revealed at the proper time.  For already the mystery of iniquity is at work, secret only for the present until the Restrainer disappears from the scene.  And then he will be revealed, that wicked man ...[43]

Simply stated, St. Paul is saying that Antichrist cannot appear until something-or-someone described as the “Restrainer” is gone.  Who or what can this Restrainer be?  We find the answer very plainly given in the first part of Our Lady's Secret, and, as a matter of fact, it turns out to be the one common element in all of her messages:  She is holding back “restraining” the hand of her Son.  We have learned that the “hand” is the principle of karma, and that the restraining force is Grace.  The Blessed Virgin is the Gate of Grace, a Gate symbolically associated with the Church and with the Keys of St. Peter.  To put it metaphorically, then, it is as if to say that the Gates of Hell may not open until the Gate of Heaven closes ― until the Church is eclipsed.  Now let us recall the last “clue” of the second part of the Secret ― the prophecy of sede vacante, an empty papal throne ―  i.e., for an interval, however short, no one holds the Keys.
This does not happen simply upon the death of a pope, since he is merely the head of an episcopal body which survives him.  Hence, the disappearance of the Restrainer implies not only an empty papal throne, but also a schism in the Church.  Moreover, it would be no ordinary schism.  All of the Church schisms of the past have involved the election of more than one pope, or mutual excommunications by two or more rival claimants to the See.  But for the Petrine Office to truly be empty, there must be a situation in which the Church hierarchy splits into opposing factions, and no single faction is able to muster the two-thirds vote in the College of Cardinals to elect a pope.
How might such a situation come about?  Actually, there is a historical precedent, which occurred at the end of the 13th Century.  After the death of Nicholas IV in 1292, the cardinals ― there were only 12 of them at the time ― remained deadlocked for 27 months.  Finally, when the Conclave reconvened in 1294, they received a message from the famous hermit Pietro del Morrone, who warned that divine retribution would befall the Church if the cardinals left it without a head any longer.  Since Pietro was renowned for his great piety, the cardinals heeded his warning and elected the only candidate they could all agree on ― Pietro himself, who became Pope Celestine V.  As one might expect, Celestine made a very odd Pope indeed.  He had close ties with the Franciscan “Spiritualists”, who taught that the Parousia was imminent and that an “Angelic Pastor” would soon appear to lead the Church back to its Apostolic roots of voluntary poverty and renunciation of temporal power.  The Spiritualists also believed that the “false prophet” who would serve Antichrist in the latter times would prove to be a pontiff.  The impending election of such an “Antipope”, they believed had been augured by the solar eclipse of 1239 A.D., in which the path of totality (where the sun's disk is completely obscured) passed very near Rome.
Within six months of his election, Celestine V ― who was widely regarded as the fabled “Angelic Pastor” ― was forced to resign by the Vatican hierarchy.  Fearing a schism, Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII, had him imprisoned and ultimately murdered.  Dante, a contemporary of Celestine and Boniface, in his Paradiso lyrically portrays an encounter with St. Peter, who denounces the usurper and declares his Chair to be “vacant in the eyes of Christ”.  As St. Peter makes this declaration of sede vacante, Dante describes an eclipse in Heaven, which he equates with the one which occurred during the Passion.[44]   In this fashion, the poet was symbolically depicting the “eclipse of the Church” ― tantamount to the disappearance of St. Paul's “restraining hand” ― which will open the way for the appearance of Antichrist.  And indeed, as we shall see, the papacy's subservience to the French monarchy during its “captivity” in Avignon, following the abdication of Celestine V, foreshadows the pattern of obeisance which the False Prophet will pay to Antichrist.
Based on this historical prototype, then, we may speculate that the vacant See which presages the parousia of Antichrist will come about via the forced resignation of a sitting Pope, or alternatively through the coerced non-acceptance of the papal throne by a legitimately-elected candidate.  Remarkably, both of these scenarios are currently being bandied about by the two opposing camps which are bracing for an impending breach of Church unity ―  with the liberals on one side openly suggesting that it would be appropriate for John Paul II, having passed the age of 80, to “retire” soon, and the conservatives on the other side anticipating that their favored successor to Papa Wojtyla will be “vetoed” after his election, as they claim Cardinal Siri was at the Conclave which chose Paul VI in 1963.[45]
            Is the empty Papal throne that will usher in the reign of Antichrist inexorably destined then to eventuate upon the death or resignation of the current Pontiff?  Such a categorical prophecy would certainly offend the consistently contingent structure of the Marian messages at Fatima and elsewhere.  What is fairly certain, however, is that sede vacante is part of the “or else” scenario should John Paul fail to fulfill the Virgin's mandate, and we may even speculate that this calamity was part of the ominous vision which came upon the Pope after the Agca shooting.  In order to avert this tragedy, the Polish Pontiff would have to pick up the fallen mantle of Celestine V and assume the role of the “Angelic Pastor” ― the prophesied Holy Pope who will dare to dismantle the corrupt edifice of power and wealth which has engulfed the See of St. Peter.  Such daring is nothing less than what Our Lady demands of the Popes in Her Third Secret.
The opportunity to fulfill the mission of the Angelic Pastor has been afforded to each of the last six pontiffs.  After the prodigious Aurora of January 1938, Sister Lucy wrote a letter to Pope Pius XI ― who had been specifically mentioned in the second part of the Lady's Secret ― and offered to come to Rome to instruct him as to how the unparalleled suffering of the coming war might still be mitigated.  Since Pius XI, each of the occupants of the papal throne has had access to the knowledge of what action is necessary to avoid the “eclipse” of the Church which would trigger the rise of Antichrist.  Yet each, with the sole exception of the martyred John Paul I, has demurred.  In a very real sense, therefore, we have had six “candidates” for the role of Angelic Pastor ― with the one remaining chance now being, quite appropriately, the Pope “of the Sun's eclipse”.  St. Malachy's epithet aptly tags the current papacy as the “last exit” on the road to a total eclipse of the Faith.
There is good reason to believe that, if the Virgin's option of Grace is not exercised by the end of the current papal reign, that is, if Karol Wojtyla does not step up to the role of Pastor Angelicus in whatever time remains of his tenure, then the See will become “vacant in the eyes of Christ”.  Six is the number of Antichrist, and six were the apparitions of the Lady of Fatima ― with each appearance bearing a mystical correspondence to the succession of pontiffs to which her prophecies relate.  Thus, for example, the July apparition, at which the great Secret was revealed, corresponds to the third in the “Angelic Pastor” line ― Pope John XXIII, who was the first Pontiff to actually read the Third Secret.  The briefest apparition, that of September 13, 1917, would match up with the abbreviated reign of John Paul I ― the Pope who St. Malachy styles “from the Half Moon” and who was actually born on the Street of the Half Moon.[46]
During the final Fatima apparition, the Miracle of the Sun, the daylight was dimmed, stars became visible, and it was possible to stare without pain or discomfort at the solar disk ―  circumstances which only occur naturally during a total eclipse.  Thus, we have an unequivocal nexus between this sixth apparition and the sixth in the succession of would-be Angelic Pastors.  Named by St. Malachy “de Labore Solis, he is the Pope who was born during a solar eclipse ― John Paul II.
As we will explore in greater depth in the next section of this treatise, the eschatological task of the Holy Pope or Pastor Angelicus is to consummate the Judgment of the Nations by gathering together a new “people of God”.  In connection with the second part of the Fatima Secret, we have seen that this quest involves the reunification of the Eastern and Western churches and the consecration of Russia to that end.  But, as is attested by the deaths of Celestine V and John Paul I, the Vatican hierarchy is not likely to respond passively to a purge which will render it powerless.  Effectively, then, what the situation demands is that the Angelic Pastor must act as a latter-day Moses, confronting the awesome sovereign might of “Pharaoh” ― or “Babylon” as it is rendered in Revelation ― with the demand: “Let my people go!”  Moses himself undertook this mission with great misgivings and trepidation.  Who was he, one man, to impose his will on Pharaoh?  He had only the Word of Yahweh to back him up.  The Angelic Pastor will need to summon the equivalent faith in the Word of Christ and his Blessed Mother as his “equalizer” in his battle with the Great Whore of Rome.
We live in an era, however, in which true faith, as opposed to superficial piety, has nearly ceased to exist, especially in the upper strata of the World's institutional religions.  How then can we expect that a man who has risen through the ruthless Vatican power structure and become Supreme Pontiff could ever be capable of mustering the transcendent faith of a Moses?  Here we must remind ourselves, however, of the indispensable complement of Grace ― the preference for the poor.  Christ converted the Pharisee Saul into the most intrepid proselytizer of his Word, and he can do the same with the Vicar of the Pharisees in Rome.  It goes without saying that such a converted Holy Pope would not retain the trappings of the Pharisees any more than did St. Paul.  Like Paul he would be reduced to nothing, an object of scorn, in worldly terms, and would go into exile to gather the new flock of God's people.
Are we extrapolating too far from the threads of the second part of the Secret into the supposed content of the Third Secret?  Fortunately, our trail of interpretation at this point links up with a tangible “marker” left behind by Jacinta Marto, the younger seeress of Fatima.  Shortly after the children received Our Lady's Secret in July 1917, Jacinta had two visions that she recounted to Lucia, who recorded them in her memoirs with the remark that they comprise “part of the [third] secret”.  Both visions concern the Holy Pope or Angelic Pastor:
#1:  "I don't know how it was, but I saw the Holy Pope in a very large house.  He was kneeling by a table with his face in his hands and he was crying.  Outside the house were many people.  Some of them were throwing stones at him, others were cursing him and using bad language."

#2:  "Can't you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat?  And the Holy Pope in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary?  And so many people praying with him?"[47]

Let's proceed in reverse order and first examine Jacinta's second vision.  Virtually all interpreters of this passage have concluded that it depicts the ultimate consecration of Russia by the Holy Pope, and this reading does appear to be indisputable.  Some of these same exegetes also maintain that this vision was fulfilled in 1942 when Pope Pius XII made his first “consecration” in Rome.  But that “consecration”, as we have discussed earlier, actually anathematized Russia and was not carried out in union with the World's bishops as Our Lady directed.  Though flawed and politically tendentious, Pius' action was nonetheless the first public acknowledgment by the Papacy of the urgent necessity, in terms of human survival, of honoring the Virgin's requests.  By having taken this first step, Pius XII certainly aspired to the title of “Pastor Angelicus”, which the prophecy of St. Malachy confers upon him ― although he obviously fell far short of what is required to fulfill that role.  Interestingly, Pius XII styled himself the “Pope of Fatima” and made Our Lady's message a major theme of his reign until he learned of the content of the Third Secret (by sending an envoy to interview Sister Lucy on the subject in 1955), after which he became quite reticent on the subject.
If, on the other hand, we compare Jacinta's second vision with our interpretation of the consecration of Russia, it fits quite well.  As the culminating act in the gathering of a new people of God, we would expect it to be accompanied by masses of humanity in motion ― a veritable latter-day Exodus ― which Jacinta in fact foresees.  The multitude of clerics whom she envisions joining in the Holy Pope's consecration would be the united bishops of the Eastern and Western churches.  But how do we interpret her detail concerning the famine that afflicts the people of God at this future event?  In the text of the second part of the Secret, we have seen that famine, as well as war and religious persecution, are aspects of the Virgin's “or else” contingency, which presumably remains operative throughout the Third Secret as well.  Hence, widespread starvation may precede the renewal of the Faith mandated by Our Lady, but it need not.  Why then does it appear as an immutable feature of Jacinta's vision?  As previously discussed, an option of Grace which stipulates inevitable “chastisements” is a travesty ― and we may safely assume that the Blessed Mother does not occupy Herself with travesties.
More likely, the hunger which Jacinta perceived among the pilgrim people of God was a spiritual hunger resulting from the Great Apostasy, the universal falling away from Faith, which St. Paul describes (in the earlier quotation in this text) as foreshadowing the parousia of Antichrist. In Scripture, famine is a frequent metaphor for apostasy, and specifically for the Great Apostasy to ensue in the end Time:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.[48]

Therefore, we begin to learn that the real thrust of the Third Secret does not concern itself with natural or man-made cataclysms, but rather with the spiritual catastrophe which is looming on humanity's horizon.  What is destroyed in the physical body alone is not destroyed forever, but what is destroyed in the divine Body is lost in Eternity.  We are dealing with entirely different levels of reality here: one grounded in the fallen World of transient phenomena, and the other rooted in the All which is, shall be, and always has been.  In the past century, mankind has become indifferent to the Word of God because the Pharisees of institutional Christianity have eviscerated its guts, its fire, its prophetic content.  Instinctively, like any animal, Man can still discern the Signs of the Times, and so he unconsciously realizes that the existing order of things ― the World, as he knows it ― is coming to an end.  But the Pharisees disdain to preach the message of the latter times, the message of Revelation, the message of the Third Secret of Fatima.  These they dismiss as “prophecies of doom”, because in fact they do pronounce the doom ... of the Pharisees themselves!
Thus abandoned by their supposed shepherds, the flock becomes fair game for the Wolf who waits in the wings.  Unconsciously cognizant of our fate, we humans have lapsed into the ennui and despair, the wanton indulgence of carnal appetite that characterizes a decadent civilization.  We have become the generation of Noah, bent on tedious sensual gratification and passionless revelry right up to the moment the flood waters come to wash us away.  While the masses drift into imbecilic hedonism, the intellectuals pursue a bogus New Age “spiritualism”, which blends neurotic self-absorption and morbid fascination with impending catastrophe.  Obsessively searching for portents of natural calamity in every fashion of quack divination and pseudo-science, we remain oblivious to the higher reality, clueless to the fact that much more is at stake here than our individual lives or even the survival of our culture.  Recoiling in horror from the veritable epidemic of  willfully self-destructive behavior spreading like a brush fire among the World's youth, can we not recognize in this dreadful pattern the emulation by our children of the de facto suicide they behold in the pointless lives of their elders?
Our most ancient sacred traditions teach us not to stand in terror of physical death, but rather to beware of the second death.  The second death is the spiritual annihilation by which we may be forever severed from the divine Body ― the one true, Infinite and Eternal identity of each one of us, and of all of us together.  The sickness which leads to the second death is apostasy ― apostasia in Greek, meaning “to stand apart”.  This “standing apart” takes place in our mind, which succumbs to the illusion of its separateness from the Mind of God ― the illusion of the Serpent of Eden.  Once instilled by the initial “standing apart”, the disease apostasia progresses relentlessly toward ever greater atomization of Consciousness, inciting the divisions of man against nature, nation against nation, male against female, and finally the definitive pandemonium of “all against all”, which we are now fast approaching.
 

Therefore, the importance of the content of the Third Secret of Fatima cannot be overstated:  It is nothing less than the tonic for the gravest pestilence ever to menace humanity ― the deadly plague of apostasy.  In exile from the Body of the God-Man, we have created for ourselves a idolatrous collective identity ― the abominable Moloch who stands astride the World like a colossus exacting as daily tribute the very blood of our Eternal life.  The message of Our Lady to mankind is essentially this:  “The idol of the World will crumble and fall as soon as God has brought His people out from shadow of its monstrous body.  My messenger ― the Angelic Pope who has summoned the intrepid faith to unfold this Secret before the World ― will be driven away into hiding by the wrath of the Apostates.  They will install on the thrones of the World and the Church their Antichrist and Antipope.  For a time, these two will persecute the faithful with such a vengeance that there will be more martyrdoms than in all the previous history of the World.  But do not despair, for the time will shortened by my Son's Mercy.  Like Egypt of old, Rome will be shown many signs and wonders, and she will be visited with plagues because she will not relent and release my people.  When the Angelic Pope reappears and convenes the Great Council of the East and West, he will call on the faithful to come out from the Church of Apostasy.  Then they shall be all made One Body ― the Bride of Christ, who will ascend to embrace Her Bridegroom.”
What we have here interpreted to be the essential message of the Third Secret is consistent with the various elements which we have derived from our analysis thus far.  It further incorporates the first vision of Jacinta Marto, in which she saw the Holy Pope besieged by an angry mob which was cursing and stoning him.  We are also reminded of the nightmare of Pope Pius X, in which he saw one of his successors fleeing Rome for his very life.  This implies that, having accepted the role of the Angelic Pastor by unveiling the Secret, the Pope will find himself totally isolated within the Vatican hierarchy which the Secret condemns.  The ensuing forced abdication and exile of the Holy Pope would then leave the “vacant Chair” ― the “eclipse” of the Church which augurs the appearance of Antichrist and his False Prophet.
In the first section of this book, we spent quite a bit of time discussing the image of the eclipse in Nostradamus’ prophecies concerning the fate of the Papacy at the end of the Sixth Millennium.  Among the Quatrains we considered was one which clearly relates to the impending death of John Paul II, but which also takes on another layer of meaning in the light of our study of the Third Secret of Fatima:
When the eclipse of the Sun takes place,
In broad daylight will the monster be seen:
It will be interpreted totally another way, ...[49]

With our newly-acquired insights, we can confidently say that the “monster” which will be revealed in the aftermath of the Pope's demise is Antichrist, although the great Deceiver will not at first be recognized for what he is.  In fact, he will be everywhere accepted as the World's savior.  Now we can fully appreciate the archetypal meaning of “de Labore Solis.  With the eclipse of Papa Wojtyla comes the eclipse of the Sun ― and of the Roman Catholic Church which it symbolizes.  We can also comprehend why Mehmet Ali Agca connected John Paul's death with the Fatima message.  His death or abdication is the watershed event which leads, according to the Third Secret, to sede vacante, i.e., the disappearance of St. Paul's “Restrainer”, and the parousia of Antichrist.  The fact that his prophecy is thus linked to the Fatima apparitions is not lost on Nostradamus, who follows the above-quoted Quatrain with the following one:
From the extreme West of Europe (Portugal),
Of poor people a young child will be born,
Who by her tongue will convert a great flock:
In the kingdom of the East her acclaim will grow.[50]

Who else could these verses describe but Lucia dos Santos, the ten-year old daughter of impoverished Portuguese peasants, who revealed the Virgin's plan for the conversion of Russia, the “kingdom of the East”?
Again, going back the first segment of this treatise, we established that Nostradamus had tied the passing of the current Pontiff to the transit of the planet Saturn through the precinct of the constellation Aquarius known as the “Water” (a.k.a. the “Urn” or “Pond”).  Since a monarch is ritually anointed by the pouring of a liquid upon his head, we can interpret this transit of Saturn as symbolizing the anointing of Antichrist ― the abominable dark Ruler with whom the mythical Set/Saturn is associated.  With the enthronement of Antichrist as the World's monarch, Satan/Saturn is loosed from bondage for a time to do what he will:
The year that Saturn is out of servitude,
In Frankish land he will be anointed with water:
Of the Trojan blood line will be his marriage,
And he will surely be from the region surrounded by the Spanish.[51]

With respect to the “Trojan blood” of Antichrist, the foregoing Quatrain is consistent with several others we have seen dealing with the Merovingian kings of the ancient Franks and their claimed descent from the royal family of fabled Troy.  These same Quatrains also relate Antichrist's “anointment” to the transit of Saturn through the Water.  And the triggering event of his malevolent parousia ― the death or abdication of John Paul II ― is destined to follow the retrograde phase of this transit:
Far near the Urn, the malefic [Saturn] turns retrograde,
Such that to great Mars fire will present an obstacle:
Towards the North Wind to the South of France the great proud lady,
FLORA tends the gate of thought.

Eight, fifteen and five what betrayal.
Will come to allow the malefic explorer:
Fire from the sky, lightening, fear, Papal terror,
The West trembles, over-pressed the wine Saline.[52]

After having passed just beyond the Urn of Aquarius (roughly the second decan of tropical Pisces), on July 6, 1995, Saturn turned retrograde and was in opposition to Mars.  Continuing retrograde, the wicked Scythe-bearer then backed up through the Water/Urn from September 23 through November 21, 1995.  During that period the Pope visited New York, in whose harbor stands the famous statue of the “great lady” Liberty, who looks out across the Ocean back toward her native land of France.  Nostradamus also links this Lady with the Roman goddess Flora, whose mythical power of miraculous conception anticipated the Virgin Mary.  Significantly, the pagan deity Mars was a pathenogenous child conceived with the aid of Flora's May-blossom.  Thus, we have here the suggestion of a malevolent parody of the Virgin birth, with its issue being not the Prince of Peace, but the god of war.
Such a reading implies that the spirit of darkness exemplified by Saturn will become incarnate in blood-red Mars.  But the lines quoted above also inform us that the appearance of this personification of violence will be delayed, because Mars is first obstructed by “fire”.  Interpreted astrologically, this means that ― after the transit of Saturn through the Urn of Aquarius ― the planet Mars becomes “combust”, i.e. it conjoins the Sun and is thus said to be “in the fire”.  In fact, Saturn completed it last pass through the Urn early in January 1996, and within less than a month, Mars became “combust” and remained hidden “in the fire” of the Sun until the end of March.  Mar's emergence from the “fire”, moreover, coincided with the sudden spectacular arrival of a fiery celestial “explorer” ― the Comet Hyakutake ― in March 1996.  As we shall discuss in the next section of this book, this bizarre cometary visitation was to herald of the malefic approach of another ”explorer” in 1997 ―  the Comet Hale-Bopp ― the celestial harbinger of the “Papal terror” to which the prophet's penultimate verse alludes.  
It would seem, therefore, that even the signs in the heavens point us toward the death or abdication of the Pope as the watershed event in our apocalyptic drama.  During the portentous retrograde transit of Saturn through the Pond of Aquarius in October 1995, John Paul II celebrated the 17th anniversary of his inauguration, which brings back into play another Quatrain we previously considered:
After the See has been held for seventeen years,
It will change hands five times in a comparable period of time:
Then one will be elected at the same time [as another],
Who will not be too much in conformity with the Romans.[53]

The foregoing verses literally take us through the entire succession of the six “Angelic Pastor” Popes.  Beginning with Pius XI, who reigned for exactly 17 years, his namesake successor Pius XII died after a term of 19 years in October 1958.  In the 20 years from October 1958 to October 1978 there were five Pontiffs ― culminating in the distinctly non-Roman Karol Wojtyla. Since John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope in over four-and-a-half centuries, he is often identified as the one who is “not too much in conformity with the Romans”.  Reading this Quatrain more carefully, however, we discern that he is already included among the group of five who followed Pius XI, so that the “nonconforming” pope must be one elected after the Polish Pontiff.  Furthermore, the election of this future pope “at the same time” as another candidate strongly suggests a disputed outcome ― as in the 2000 U.S. presidential race ― resulting in two rival claimants to the papal throne.  Interpreted in this manner, this Quatrain conforms to St. Malachy’s prediction that John Paul II would have a pair of successors, both elected “at the same time”, one of whom would be an Antipope.  (We will explore this interpretation further in Chapter Four, “The Bones of the Triumvir”.)
According to Nostradamus, the Great Schism in the Church, which is to follow the death or resignation of John Paul II, will coincide with the appearance of the “Beast in the theater”.[54]  The latter may be a reference to the compulsive thespianism of Roman Emperor Nero, the prototype of Antichrist.  The prophet of Provence apparently foresees the Schism arising from a dispute concerning the election of John Paul's successor:
Feuds and new schisms created by the red hats [cardinals]
When the Sabine will have been elected:
They will produce specious arguments against him,...[55]

The Quatrain immediately preceding this one states that “Bronzebeard will reign” ― yet another allusion to Nero, whose Latin family name translates as “Bronzebeard”.  This is one more sign that the rise of Antichrist will occur contemporaneously with the great Catholic Schism.  Since the Sabines were the indigenous people of central Italy when the Romans arrived, this stanza also envisions that the papal candidate whose election is contested will be a native Italian.  Reading on in the subsequent Quatrains, it appears that the specious arguments of the Sabine's detractors will prevail, and his election will be nullified in favor of a French cardinal:
Not from Spain, but from ancient France
Will one be elected to the trembling bark [the papacy],
It will be betrothed to the enemy [Antichrist],
Who will bring upon his realm a cruel plague.[56]

So far, all of this is strikingly consistent with the content of the Third Secret of Fatima, with the Holy Pope denied his rightful election and his throne taken by the False Prophet allied with Antichrist.  Nostradamus even gives us a name for this Antipope ― the Leopard[57] ― which bears a remarkable correspondence to the name Leo XIV predicted for the successor of John Paul II by the prophetic Monk of Padua (1740).  As for the Holy Pope, Nostradamus likewise sees him forced into exile following the voiding of his election:
The great Prelate [Pope] the day after his dream,
Interpreted contrary to its meaning:
From Gascony [southwest France] a monk will appear to him unexpectedly,
Who will bring about the election of the great prelate of Sens [southeast of Paris].

The election arranged by the strong Frank
Will nullify that of Milan to whom he objects:
Due to the power of his [Milan's] closeness to his own people,
They will expel him to the marshes beyond the Rhine.[58]

Again we have a French prelate identified as the Antipope or False Prophet, and now the dethroned Italian Pope-elect is further designated as Milan, which may refer to the Patriarch of Milan, Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini.  Moreover, since Martini is a Jesuit, this Quatrain would seem to reinforce a preceding one which describes the restoration of St. Peter’s Chair to a Jesuit Pope after it has been usurped for a time by an Antipope.[59]
Another detail which catches our eye in the above-quoted verses regards the projected place of the Holy Pope's exile in “the marshes beyond the Rhine”.  Traveling eastward from the Rhine River, the first major expanse of marshes one encounters are the Pripet Marshes of western Russia.  Hence, the need of the persecuted Pope to seek asylum in the domains of the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs may establish the basis for the East-West Church reunification stipulated in the Third Secret.  In an earlier Quatrain, Nostradamus also refers to this pontifical exile in “the marshes”, and he leaves no doubt as to the malignancy of the usurping Antipope seated in Rome:
When the serpents come to encircle the altar,
The Trojan blood vexed by the Spaniards:
By them great number of them will be marred,         
The head [of the Church] flees, hidden in the marshes.[60]

In this stanza we again find, in the role of adversary to the Holy Pope, the malignant monarch of “Trojan blood”, descended from the legendary Francus ― hence, the “strong Frank”.  As envisioned by Nostradamus, the flight of the Angelic Pastor from Rome will be accompanied by bloodshed, thus fulfilling the nightmare premonition of Pope Pius X:
The false message about the sham election
Spreads through the city shattering the peace:
Votes bought, the (Sistine) chapel stained with blood,
And with another the empire allies.[61]

We are struck immediately by the image here of angry mobs incited against the Holy Pope by the calumnies of his enemies, which seems to be lifted right out of the vision of Fatima seeress Jacinta Marto.  Once having overturned his election and driven him violently from the Vatican, the Apostates of the Church hierarchy will replace the Holy Pope with one of their own, who will fiercely persecute those who remain loyal to the true Pontiff:
... for the space of three years the clergy will be persecuted even more fiercely by the Apostatic seduction of  one who will wield total and absolute power in the Church Militant.  The holy people of God, the observers of His Law, and all religious orders will be greatly persecuted and afflicted, such that the blood of true ecclesiastics will flow everywhere.[62]

Elsewhere, Nostradamus reiterates that the Antipope fraudulently elected after the wrongful deposition of the Holy Pope will be “the son of Mammon”.[63]  In these particulars, his prophecies converge not only with the Third Secret of Fatima, but also with the earlier Secret of La Salette, which we will analyze in greater detail later in this book.  For now, it suffices to note the principal theme delivered by the Blessed Virgin at La Salette:
Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist... The Church will be eclipsed, the World will be in consternation.[64]

            Another aspect of the Lady's appearance at La Salette which is pertinent to our present discussion concerns its timing ― a factor which we have already found to be of great importance in understanding the Fatima apparitions.  On September 23, 1846, four days after the young shepherdess Melanie Calvat encountered the Virgin on the mountain of La Salette, astronomers first discovered the planet Neptune.  Since the Secret of La Salette deals with the reign of Antichrist, who is portrayed in Revelation as the Beast of the Sea, there is a direct symbolic nexus with the pagan god of the sea, after whom the newly-revealed celestial body was named.  In Roman mythology, Neptune is the son of Saturn and the brother of the underworld deity Pluto, who may be likened to the scriptural Beast of the Earth, and after whom the ninth planet would later be named.  In the imagery of St. John's Apocalypse, the Red Dragon, representing the fallen angel Lucifer, forms, together with the two Beasts, an infernal trinity, a trinity represented in the trident ― or “devil's pitchfork” ―  which Lucifer is typically depicted as brandishing.  The same trident was wielded by the pagan deity Neptune and is still used by astronomers to symbolize the planet which bears his name.
It is apparent, therefore, the Roman god of the sea incorporates many of the mythic elements of Satan and his Egyptian antecedent Set, whose domain was the Ocean of primordial chaos.  Indeed, in Homer's Odyssey, which may be read as an allegory of the human soul's circuitous journey back to its divine homeland, it is this same god of the sea who thwarts the hero's return ― just as Set/Satan opposes the release of the Spirit from its bondage in the fallen World.  Conversely, in Virgil's Aeneid, Neptune is the protector of Aeneas, the founder of ancient Rome, whose ships the sea god safely guides to their destination on the Tiber River.[65]  Thus is Neptune also associated with the worldly dominion of the Roman Empire, to which the Roman Pontificate is heir.  For that reason Dante in his Purgatorio uses the image of the chariot ― which the sea god is always pictured as riding ― to depict the corrupting embrace of imperial power by the papacy.[66]
Looking into all of this a little further, we find that, when Neptune was first observed in 1846, it was conjunct with the star Deneb Algedi, which is Arabic for “the tail of the Goat”.  In Christian iconography, of course, the Goat is closely identified with Satan, and in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Christ explains the Judgment of the Nations by drawing an analogy to the shepherd dividing the sheep from the goats.[67]  The Zodiac features the Goat as the constellation Capricorn, and the star Deneb Algedi gets its name from the fact that it marks the tail of the celestial Goat.  But it bears mentioning that Capricorn is no simple goat, but rather a composite “Goat-Fish”, i.e. having the upper torso of a goat and the tail of a fish.  The reader will recall our earlier discussion of the various pagan idols, such as the Philistines’ Dagon, which also had the lower torso of a fish.  These idols were the basis of the archetypal “abomination” which the Hebrew prophets saw as coming to defile the Temple in the last days.
An alternate representation of Capricorn ― an example of which appears on the “Zodiac arch” of St. Michael's cathedral in Susa, Italy ― portrays the Goat with the tail of a dragon.  This imagery clearly invokes the scenario of Revelation Chapter 12, in which the “Woman clothed with the Sun” is menaced by the Red Dragon:
... and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the Woman who was ready to be delivered, in order to devour her child as soon as it was born.

As we have previously mentioned, the Woman spoken of here, who appears in the end Time as a “great sign in the heavens”, is none other than the Virgin ― as attested by Her periodic public apparitions over the past 150 years.  John the Divine describes Her as wearing a coronet of twelve stars ― just as Lucia dos Santos reported twelve stars encircling the head of Our Lady of Fatima.  These symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel and, in a parallel sense, the twelve Gentile Nations.  Hence, when the tail of the Dragon sweeps a third of the stars from the sky, this bespeaks the destruction of one-third of the Nations ― that is to say, four of the twelve.  Of the remaining eight Nations, we find seven represented by the seven crowns which adorn the heads of the Red Dragon.  This means that all but one of the surviving Nations of the World will be united in the empire of the Dragon and his Antichrist.
Based on our earlier discussions of the Nations as the collective body of the idolatrous Man-god, we are not at all surprised to see them devouring children, as the Red Dragon is depicted as doing in Revelation Chapter 12.  Again, we are reminded that the Ammonite idol Moloch, and his titanic Roman counterpart Saturn, were also consumers of children, and that the Nations have, in our times, carried out the immolation of innocents on an unprecedented scale.  But who is the “male child” who the Red Dragon of John's vision is so specifically intent on devouring?   Traditional Catholic prophecy has interpreted him to be “the Pope to be elected in those days”,[68] that is, the very same persecuted Holy Father/Angelic Pastor whom Jacinta Marto described as appearing in her two visions of the Third Secret of Fatima.  As we have discovered from the Quatrains of Nostradamus, this Holy Pope will be elected after the death of the current Pontiff “Labore Solis, but his election will be “voided” by a corrupt cabal in the Roman Curia ― the same which assassinated John Paul I.   Like Jacinta Marto, our Provençal prophet (whose name, ironically, translates as “Our Lady”), foresees this persecuted Pope being driven into exile soon after his “nullified” election.  St. John's Apocalypse is also consistent on this score:
And she brought forth a man child... And the Woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand and two hundred and threescore days.[69]

It is the Woman, the symbol of the Church itself, which John see fleeing, because Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia ― where Peter is, there is the Church.  The wilderness in which Pope Peter and the remnant of the true Church will find refuge will be the one Nation that will oppose Antichrist.  It is the Nation which Our Lady of Fatima has singled out to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart ― to be hallowed as the temple of her new Apostles and as the Ark of her freshly gathered people.  When, in Egyptian myth, Set pursued the pregnant Isis, she built an ark of papyrus to bear her son Horus safely upon the waters of the Nile River.  In the same way, the wife of the Levite fashioned an ark of bulrushes for Moses, while a fish-woven basket ―  the Pisces of the Zodiac ―  bore Venus and her son Eros away from the menacing monster Typhon.  This same Typhon   the mythic rendering of a comet, as we shall soon discover ― so terrified the pagan goat-god Pan, that he plunged into the river and became a fish from the waist down.  That brings us back once more to the Goat-Fish image of Capricorn, the Zodiac sign which signifies the “end of Time”.  From Pan we get our word “panic” ― the vortex of Time into which the souls outside of the sanctuary of the Ark must inevitably be swept.
This vortex is represented in John's Apocalypse by the “river” which the Dragon spews out its mouth in order to wash the Woman away.  If the Woman stands for the people of God, this image depicts the flood of Apostasy, the deluge of idolatry by which the Church will be eclipsed:
and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.[70]

What is the idolatry of this World?  Is it not a worship of what we might call the “exteriority” of things?  Jesus speaks of this when he compares the Pharisees to a whitewashed sepulcher, “all corruption within”.  This simile has many levels of meaning ― mundane hypocrisy being the most basic.  But isn’t Christ also saying that the Pharisees make the more fundamental error of dwelling solely in the universe of external appearances?  Certainly, he means to tell us that we must dwell within his Creation.  If we see ourselves as outside of his “mighty works”, are we not idolaters?  God's creation of the cosmos in the six “days” of Genesis is still unfolding, because each of the “days” of the Lord are 1000 years ― placing us squarely at the end of the sixth day.  The Creator is about to take his Sabbath rest, the “day of the Lord” ―  a day which will, writes John the Divine, last for a millennium.  We ― you and I ― are invited to join the Lord is His day of Peace, to join with Him in the celebration of His wedding.  There will be those who will ignore the invitation, and for them the day of the Lord will be Dies Irae, the day of Wrath, the day when the wineskins will be pressed.  In the winepress of the end-Time, what is within the grapes will be released to become the fermented blood of our divine Body, while the World of the superficial will dissolve and will be cast into the fire of annihilation.
Krishna, the Hindu cognate of Christ, teaches in the Bhagavadgita that what is truly Real has always been Real and must always be Real.  That which Is can never be destroyed, because it is continuously being created from within.  We do not live meaningless lives.  We are completing God's Creation.  We are laboring toward the end of the sixth day.  But we tire as the Sun begins to darken in the sky.  We forget the wedding supper we have been invited to attend.  We forget that God is within His Creation, not in the whitewashed surface that we call the World.  He asks us to enter into His Creation with Him, to be His Bride within the gates of the New Jerusalem.  Jesus says these things in allegorical form in the parable of the wedding guests:  We are to put on Creation as our wedding garment.  And he expresses the same thought even more directly in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas:
When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner ... then you will enter the Kingdom.[71]

Christ sends us his Blessed Mother as our own “private entrance”, as it were, into his Celestial City.  But we cannot enter as individuals, for Our Lord has asked “that ye be One”:
I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one.[72]

If we are all to enter together or not at all, then one man must hold the Keys to the Kingdom for all of us.  The Keys were entrusted to St. Peter and will be returned to the last Pope ― St. Malachy's “Peter of Rome ― at the end of Time.  We have seen that the Third Secret of Fatima bridges the gap between the “eclipse of the Church”, upon the death of Malachy's “Labore Solis John Paul II, and the reunion of the Church under the Angelic Pastor.  It tells us, like the Secret of La Salette, that during this time period of 1260 days, Antichrist will rule the World and the that the light of the Church will be hidden ― as is the Sun in full eclipse ― by a false Pope.  This Antipope St. Malachy has styled “The Glory of the Olive Tree”, as an emblem of his blasphemous vanity and of the olive branch of false peace by which he will seduce the Nations into following Antichrist.





Chapter Two:  The Secrets of Fatima
[1]. Tad Szulc, Pope John Paul II, Scribner, 1994, p. 359.
[2]. Szulc, op. cit., pp. 362-364.
[3]. Id. at 366;  Catholic Telegraph, June 29, 1985.
[4]. Quoted in the German magazine Stimee des Glaubens, No. 10, Oct. 1981.
[5]. Titus 1:7-16  (Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptural references herein are to King James' version.)
[6]. Matthew 23:13
[7]. A stigmatic is one who bears the visible wounds of Christ on his/her hands and/or feet.  St. Francis of Assisi is the most well-known example.
[8]. Neither eclipse was visible in Portugal.
[9]. Quoted in Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 633.
[10]. Quoting Judith 13:20, in Pope John Paul II's Homily at Fatima, May 13, 1982, reprinted in Joseph Pelletier, The Sun Danced at Fatima, Doubleday, 1983, p.200.
[11]. John 3:14
[12]. Genesis 1:27
[13]. The Godhead is, of course, without gender since “He” is the One.
[14]. The New Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday, 1985.
[15]. Francis Johnston, Fatima: The Great Sign, TAN Publishers, 1980, p. 139.
[16]. Matthew 14:22-33
[17]. Luke 8:22-25
[18]. Luke 18:8
[19]. William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”, 1920.
[20]. Genesis 3:15, New Jerusalem Bible, footnote c.
[21]. Joseph Pelletier, The Sun Danced at Fatima, Doubleday/Image 1983.
[22]. 1 Peter 3:8 and Psalms 90:4
[23]. “Mother of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Mater), Daughters of St. Paul, 1987, pp. 7 and 36.
[24]. F. Johnston, op. cit., p. 9.
[25]. Luke 1:52-53
[26]. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, Fr. Louis Kondor, ed., Imprimatur Fatimae 1976, p. 104.
[27]. Song of Songs 6:10, New Jerusalem Bible.
[28]. F. Johnston, op. cit., p. 38 and fn. 5.
[29]. Acts 22:6-15
[30]. Matthew 11:20-27
[31]. 1 Corinthians 25-29, author's rendering.
[32]. Matthew 21:33-43
[33]. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, op. cit., pp. 104-105.
[34]. Exodus 19:5-6
[35]. J. Pelletier, op. cit., pp. 170-193.
[36]. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, op. cit., p. 200.
[37]. See e.g., Malachi Martin, op. cit,, pp. 677-685, and Ted and Maureen Flynn, The Thunder of Justice, MaxKol, 1993, pp. 251-255.
[38]. Peter Hebblethwaite, The Next Pope, Harper, 1995, p. 171.
[39]. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, op. cit., p. 162.
[40]. Id., p. 200.
[41]. Matthew 24:24
[42]. A system which assigns each alphabetical character a numerical value.
[43]. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, as translated by Bernard McGinn in Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil, Harper, 1994, pp. 42-43.
[44]. Dante, Divine Comedy, Paradiso, xxvii: 19-36.
[45]. P. Hebblethwaite, op cit., pp. 20-21 and 85-86; M. Martin, op. cit., p. 607-609 and 678-679.
[46]. M. Martin, op. cit., p. 610.
[47]. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, op. cit., pp. 108-109; the translation given in the source renders “Holy Pope” as “Holy Father”, but Il Papa is synonymous with “Father”, or “Padre” in Portuguese.
[48]. Amos 8:11-12
[49]. C3Q34
[50]. C3Q35
[51]. C5Q87
[52]. Nostradamus, Presages 8 and 9, E. Leoni, op. cit, p. 457.
[53]. C5Q92
[54]. C1Q45
[55]. C5Q46
[56]. C5Q49
[57] . C6Q20

[58]. C6Q86-87
[59]. C6Q25-26
[60]. CIQ19
[61]. C8Q20
[62]. Epistle ¶51
[63]. C10Q18
[64]. Melanie Calvat, The Apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette, Magnificat, 1989, pp. 23-24.
[65]. Virgil, The Aeneid, v: 1015-1066.
[66]. Dante, Purgatorio, xxxii: 100-160.
[67]. Matthew 25:31-46
[68]. Rev. R. Gerald Culleton, “The Reign of Antichrist, TAN 1971, p. 193, quoting Berry, Apocalypse of St. John (1920).
[69]. Revelation 12:5-6
[70]. Amos 8:8-9
[71]. The Gospel of Thomas, verse 22  (Harper 1992).  The Thomas supposed to have written this gospel is not the Apostle St. Thomas, but instead Judas Thomas, or “Thomas the Twin”, the storied brother of Jesus.  This “fifth gospel” was discovered in 1945 near the desert oasis of Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

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