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on the Third Secret
Cardinal Bertone’s New Book
Antonio Socci Refutes

Special to the Fatima Center

The Last Seer of Fatima, written by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was published in Rome on May 10. The book was an intended refutation of Antonio Socci’s Il Quarto Segreto di Fatima (published in November 2006), in which Socci, an acclaimed author, presents hard evidence there exists a second text of the Third Secret of Fatima yet unpublished.

Bertone’s book does not answer the questions posed by Socci and by others who have written about the probability of a second text of the Secret not yet revealed. Rather, the Cardinal resorts to personal attacks against Socci himself.

On May 12, Antonio Socci issued a forceful response originally titled “Dear Cardinal Bertone: Who — Between You and I — is the one Who’s Lying and Knowing It? And Please Don’t Mention Masonry.” The article appeared in the May 12 Libero as “Socci Destroys Bertone”.

What follows is a summary of Socci’s rebuttal.

Cardinal Bertone attempts to dismiss Socci’s claims as “mere fabrications” without giving any proof. Striking a new low, Bertone says that by putting forward the questions posed in his book, Socci is playing “the ancient game of Masonry to discredit the Church.”

But Bertone, says Socci, ignores the evidence put forth in The Fourth Secret of Fatima, and simply calls Socci a liar. “Unfortunately”, says Socci, “he doesn’t show how and when I lied.” The truth of the matter is that Socci asked the Cardinal (to name just one of the questions) why in his commentary on the Third Secret published by the Vatican Bertone quotes a letter written by Sister Lucy, while at the same time he omits (without saying it), a decisive phrase that would have debunked his entire interpretation. Bertone give no explanation as to why he did this, but simply repeats the “modified” letter of Sister Lucy.

Mr. Socci reiterates the “core of the dispute” is that the Vatican did not release the entire Third Secret in 2000. He reminds the reader that he had originally accepted the Vatican’s claim that it had been completely published, “but then I realized the facts said the opposite.” He pointed out the tremendous number of holes and contradictions contained in the official Vatican version.  Socci also states, as related in his book, that he had requested an interview with Cardinal Bertone to ask him these questions, but Socci’s request was never acknowledged.

Bertone’s new book, says Socci, “does not even give one answer to the many questions. On the contrary, it raises new problems”. He says he felt “embarrassed reading something so messed up and so self-damaging [to Bertone].” Socci explains that he was attacked by the Vatican Secretary of State “without a single trace of argument.” As a man who considers himself first, a Catholic; second, a journalist, “I would have preferred to be terribly wrong myself, and to be confuted.” What happened instead was something the Vatican should have “avoided at all cost”: Bertone “exposed himself publicly without answering anything” and on the contrary adding new “findings” which are disastrous for him and for the Vatican.

Socci points out that Cardinal Bertone was sent to speak to Sister Lucy three times: in 2000 before the publication of the Secret; in November 2001; and again in December 2003.

“These three personal meetings” says Socci, “were a great opportunity to allow the last living seer, almost 100 years old, to leave to Christianity and mankind her complete and most precious testimony about the most important Marian apparition in history; a monumental opportunity.”

Socci explains that Bertone should have recorded or filmed these exceptional interviews to leave them to posterity. At least he should have organized a transcription of the questions and answers to be signed by Sister Lucy “to avoid any future and foreseeable contestations.”

But what did Bertone do? “Incredibly enough,” says Socci, “these three interviews — that lasted for at least 10 hours in total, as the prelate says — were not recorded or filmed or transcribed.” Bertone today says he merely “took notes”. So in the official documents of Fatima, there are “only a few short phrases reportedly attributed to the Sister, phrases of uncertain credibility”; phrases that were “not satisfactory because he [Bertone] did not ask her the decisive questions, the ones that would serve to clear any doubt”, or at least, these questions are not recorded by Bertone.

In Socci’s book, he asked why from out of 10 hours of interviews did Bertone only make known a few phrases of Sister Lucy, phrases that would take up about 4 minutes. “What else was said during those hours?” Socci asked Bertone. “Why didn’t you put to Sister Lucy the fundamental [most important] questions, or why didn’t you publish her answers?” Bertone gives no answer in his book. He merely accuses Socci of “playing the ancient game of Masonry to discredit the Church” because Socci had the integrity to raise these legitimate questions. [Socci notes that not even The Da Vinci Code’s Dan Brown received this treatment from Bertone!]

Worse, Bertone attributes to Sister Lucy — who is now dead and cannot deny anything — some strange phrases that were not reported in the year 2000 document.

Bertone claims that after Sister Lucy saw the 2000 document, she said, “this is the Third Secret"; the “only text”; and “I never wrote anything else.”

But if Sister Lucy really said these things, notes Socci, then why was this all-important testimony never reported in the official Vatican commentary?

“And why” asks Socci, “did the Prelate not ask the seer if she ever wrote the sequel to those mysterious words pronounced by Our Lady and left hanging by the ‘etc.’” (“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.”), considered by all Fatima scholars as the beginning of the Third Secret?

Bertone now says Sister Lucy claims when she heard of the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981, “she thought that the prophecy of the Third Secret was fulfilled.”

But Socci asks, “Why on earth was such striking confirmation never reported in the official document?”

Bertone’s claim also contradicts, as Socci notes, the 1982 letter written by Sister Lucy to John Paul II: “... if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of the prophecy (Third Secret), we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge ... It is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment.”

Socci also notes that Cardinal Ratzinger had said in 2000 that the Vatican interpretation was merely hypothesis and not the official interpretation, but now Cardinal Bertone “demands to impose it as the official version.”

Socci goes on to note various facts that support the thesis of two texts of the Secret: one published in 2000 and another yet unpublished:

    • the evidence that the Secret was written on one sheet of paper;

    • the evidence that the size of the paper was about 9x14 cm contained in an envelope about 12x18 cm;

    • the evidence that the Secret consists of only 20–25 lines of text;

    • the evidence from Paris Match magazine, from Sister Pasqualina, the confidential assistant of Pope Pius XII; and from Msgr. Capovilla, personal secretary to Pope John XXIII who said the Secret was held in a desk in the Pope’s apartment, which conflicts with the 2000 commentary that claims it was stored at the Holy Office.

“Bertone does not answer these testimonies in his book”, says Socci.  The Prelate merely says “the cinematographic reconstructions of the envelope hidden in the desk of the Pope are pure fantasies,” but provides no evidence except his own testimony.

Bertone goes on to ridicule the idea that the Secret speaks of “apostasy” in the Church.

Socci responds, “I don’t talk about apostasy, but Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Ciappi did.”  (“In the Third Secret, it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” – Ciappi)

More hints that the Third Secret speaks of an apostasy in the Church, notes Socci, are found in Sister Lucy’s 1957 interview with Father Fuentes, and in two statements of Cardinal Ratzinger.

Socci says he does not have space to enumerate “all the gaffes” in Bertone’s book.  But to give one more example: Bertone claims that Gorbachev, in his historic meeting with Pope John Paul II on December 1, 1989, “pronounced a mea culpa in front of the Pope.” Yet this fact “was explicitly denied by the Vatican Press Office on March 2, 1998.”

One of the most fascinating aspects of Socci’s rebuttal is his closing comment about the letter of Pope Benedict XVI that appears in Bertone’s book.

Socci writes, “Obviously, the letter of the Pope to the Prelate is used as an introduction to the book, even if the Pope keeps his words as general as possible. From my point of view, I keep the letter that Benedict XVI wrote to me regarding my book, thanking me for the ‘feelings that suggested its writing’. Words which act as a comfort to me, while I’m facing the insults and the pathetic allegations that I’m ‘playing the game of Masonry’.”

The Fatima Center will have more to say on Cardinal Bertone’s book in the near future.

See also: Antonio's Socci's The Fourth Secret of Fatima

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