The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima are famous for the three-part “secret” they conveyed.
Of these, the “third secret” is the most famous, because it was kept confidential at the Vatican for many years.
Only a few popes and a select few others read it–until the year 2000, when Pope John Paul II published it for the whole world to read.
Here are 9 things to know and share with friends about it . . .
NOTE: We’ve already looked at the apparitions at Fatima in general and at the first two parts of the secret. For information on that, you should click here.
1) What is the third part of the secret or “third secret”?
Here is what Sr. Lucia wrote:
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’
And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the holy father’.
Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.
Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God [The Message of Fatima [MF], “Third Part of the ‘Secret’”].
2) What does the secret refer to?
In a letter to John Paul II date May 12, 1982, Sr. Lucia wrote:
“The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady’s words [in the second part of the secret]: ‘If not, [Russia] 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’ (13-VII-1917)” (MF, Introduction).
In general terms, then, the third part of the secret refers to the twentieth-century conflict between the Church and Communist Russia.