Fatima conspiracy theories are damaging the Church

Sister Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 97, was the oldest of three children who received apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima (CNS photo)

As William Oddie has pointed out in his blog explaining the reasons for the collapse of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (PEEP) Conference, some very dodgy elements have lately attached themselves to the campaign long and bravely fought by Daphne McLeod to restore proper catechesis in Catholic schools. Masonic plots? Third Secret of Fatima skulduggery? You name it, they believe it. This is very sad, but not surprising. “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia” is what PEEP is or should be about; when you reject “Petrus” – in this case, Pope Benedict XVI – you end up in a church of your own making.

It should be emphasised that although all the Third Secret Mafiosi seem to be traditionalists, not all traditionalists are members of the Third Secret Mafiosi. The extreme element gives a bad name to all those Catholics who love and are loyal to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass but who are not remotely conspiracy-minded.

Not wanting to sink into the morass of lies, forgeries, secrets and Judaeo-Masonic plots which abound on certain websites, but keen to know the truth about the “Third Secret of Fatima” (and the consecration of Russia which is linked to it) I applied to Timothy Tindal-Robertson, who has himself written an excellent book on the subject: Fatima, Russia and Pope John Paul II, published by Gracewing. I am indebted to him for the following information:

After the consecration of Russia of March 25 1984, Sister Lucia, the sole surviving seer of Fatima, was visited by the Apostolic Nuncio who asked her, “Is Russia now consecrated?” “Yes. Now it is,” she answered. This report is taken from an interview with Sister Lucia published in Fatima Family Messenger (Oct-Dec 1989, p7), written by Fr Robert Fox, the American priest authority on the subject of Fatima.

On November 8 1989, Sister Lucia sent a letter to Pope John Paul II in which she confirmed that his consecration of March 25 1984 “was done as Our Lady requested.” This is quoted in Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, July 2007, p. 124, note ii.

In the issue of January 9 2002 of the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano, there is a report on page 7 of Archbishop Bertone’s conversation with Sister Lucia on November 17 2001 at her Carmelite convent in Coimbra. The archbishop asked her: “What have you to say about the stubborn assertions of Fr Gruner, who has been collecting signatures asking the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at last, as this has never been done?” Sister Lucia replied: “I have already said that the consecration desired by Our Lady was made in 1984 and has been accepted in heaven.”

Fr Nicholas Gruner, for those who have not heard of him, has devoted his life to running an organisation that attempts to prove a massive Vatican cover-up concerning Fatima. Mr Tindal-Robertson points out that it is noteworthy that on Fr Gruner’s website, despite a wide range of books mentioned, there is no reference at all to Sister Lucia’s own account of the apparitions: Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words. Why does he ignore this essential text? Because the seer’s book conclusively refutes his allegations.

Curiously, the whole text of the third part of the secret of Fatima, published by the CDF on June 26 2000, with many supporting documents, is also missing from Fr Gruner’s website. Also missing is the knowledge that this document is available in full in Sister Lucia’s own book, cited above, on pp. 199-233. In effect, Fr Gruner rejects the testimony of Sister Lucia, Cardinal Bertone and also the present Pope, who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, published the whole text when he was president of the CDF.

None of this would matter if thousands of people had not been led into error and confusion by Fr Gruner’s activities. More importantly, the teaching authority of the Church concerning the revelations of Fatima is being undermined. The Holy Father himself is accused of dishonesty. This is a very grave matter. Surely there are enough real scandals in the Church in this country which Catholics need to address, and which Daphne McLeod has addressed so valiantly in the past, without falling for these conspiracy theories and crackpot fantasies?