Thank you all for joining us this evening to discuss The Last Secret of Fatima by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Frank Van Beek
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Why are Rome's Papal advisers not adhering to the Consecration of Russia as requested by Mary? Even Lucy in 1985 admitted it was not done and it is the only way to peace for us all. Set the political consequences aside and listen to Mary.
I think Cardinal Bertone answers this quite well in his book. On page 82 he quotes Sister Lucia herself as saying the consecration "has been performed, as Our Lady requested, on March 25, 1984."
Sister Mary Ruth O'Brien, O.P.
Carmel, IN, USA
How can we present this message to school children in a balanced, not threatening, yet inspiring way?
The secret of Fatima is important for clearly showing the battle between good and evil, but is even more important - as Cardinal Bertone points out - for its call for us to live lives of prayer, penance, and faith. This is the most important part of the message to present to children - or anyone else - for that matter.
Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
Why do you think the secret was kept a secret for such a long time?
Since it appears that the prophecy was fulfilled in the life of Pope John Paul II, who could have been in a better position than he was to release this. Of course Cardinal Bertone discusses this at great length, and I would suggest take a close look at Part I of this book for even more information on the history of the release of this secret.
Glendale Heights, IL, USA
How does one discern a difference of fact in agreement with The Fatima Network at:
to which many believe to be the case? A thorough review of the website is encouraged.
Sadly, there was and continues to be a great deal of speculation about this portion of the Fatima secret. Cardinal Bertone's book certainly puts to rest these various notions. He quotes Sister Lucia as follows: "Yes, this is the Third Secret, and I never wrote any other." The Cardinal continues in answering the site and organization you mention: "Hard-core Fatimists ... are in for a disappointment."
Why do you think there has been so much speculation about this secret in particular?
There is a general interest in anything that is considered secret. There are no shortage of meanings given for instance to the book of Revelation. This was an extraordinary appearance of Our Lady. Like the other appearances of Mary at Lourdes, Guadalupe, etc., it was a dramatic event in the life of the Church. This appearance coming as it did, contemporaneous with the Great War, WWI, and the great revolution - the Russian Revolution - suggested a type of Apocalypse. The central message which we need to keep our eyes fixed upon, is not so much the details, but that when faced with great evil, divine mercy is even greater.
How would you summarize the message of Fatima?
Both the Pope and Cardinal Bertone have described the central message as a call to conversion. We would also say that repentance, penance, conversion, prayer are all important parts of the Christian life, and that Divine Mercy is greater than any evil we may face.
Have you ever been to Fatima? Tell us your most memorable impression for there.
No, I have not yet been there. My predecessor was in the front row of the audience held on May 13, 1981 to discuss the Knights of Columbus plans for building the new chapel at St. Peter's to commemorate the patron saints of Europe, Benedict, Cyril and Methodius. We might say that John Paul II's decision to make these saints together, the patron saints of a united Europe, was part of the answer of Divine Providence to the situation, which the prophecies of Fatima addressed. Also on that day, John Paul II intended to announce the formal establishment of his pontifical institute for the study of marriage and the family, of which I became founding Vice President and first dean now located at Catholic University of America. This is why the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family is placed under the protection of Our Lady of Fatima. That is why one of the first things I did as dean was to place a large statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the offices of the Institute, which was blessed by His Excellency the Roman Catholic Archbishop Tadeausz Kondrusiewicz in Moscow, which had great significance given the Pope's consecration in 1984.
Why do you think that Fatima has had such a lasting impression compared to other apparitions?
Really the answer to this question is another book. But certainly like the other great approved Marian apparitions Rue de Bac, Guadalupe, and Lourdes - among others - it deepened the spiritual life of millions, while also giving millions great hope and caused a great spiritual renewal.
I heard that the city Fatima is named after Mohammed's daughter, when Moslems occupied Spain. Is this correct?
I have heard that the city was named for a princess who was named Fatima, and she was no doubt named for Mohammed's daughter. That having been said, we should remember what Cardinal Bertone writes in this book - that this message is for Christians. But it is important to remember also that many Muslims have a devotion to Mary, and if somehow Our Lady of Fatima can help encourage better relations between Muslims and Christians, why would we not seek her intercession.
LIPA CITY, LUZON, PHILIPPINES
Greetings! I have not yet read the book, The Last Secret of Fatima, could there be a relation on her messages to the recent catastrophes happening around the world?
I would certainly encourage you to get and read the book, and also to read the message of Fatima on the Vatican website http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html. The point of the message is not natural disasters, but rather that each of us has a duty to pray and repent and thus to make the world a better place.
I enjoyed reading this book, especially the part on Sister Lucia's love of the Rosary. Why do the Knights of Columbus put such an emphasis on the Rosary? Is this related to Fatima?
The Knights' devotion to the Rosary is really a reflection of a longer tradition of devotion within the Church. That having been said, this tradition has certainly been strengthened by the message of Our Lady of Fatima and the Marian devotion of John Paul II.
What is the meaning of Fatima for our lives today? For example, do we still need to pray for the conversion of Russia?
I think we should continue to pray for the conversion of Russia, and for that of every other country too starting with our own. The meaning of the message today is the same as it has always been: prayer, penance and conversion. Although we identify Marian apparitions with certain historical events, for example the conversion of millions of native peoples through Our Lady of Guadalupe, devotion to her is still as important today as it was in the 16th century, and one could say the same about Lourdes and other approved apparitions, and we have every reason to believe that this is true of the message Our Lady of Fatima. It is no accident that John Paul began his travels with a visit to the shrine Our Lady of Guadalupe, ended them with a visit to the shrine Our Lady of Lourdes, and had a profound devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, whose shrine he visited as well.
Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
The secret refers to corpses, killed, and arrows, which were not part of the historical assassination attempt, and bullets, which were. What discipline is used to choose some parts and disregard other parts of the secret to make it come true as prophecy?
Cardinal Bertone deals with this in a good deal of detail, when he says: "You are right. The pope didn't die. But that's actually the crucial point. It's a historical or medico-historical point, but it also affects the theological interpretation of the prophecy. From a medical and historical point of view, the pope was did fall and was on the very threshold of death. When he got to Gemelli, he was already lifeless. He had lost a lot of blood and his condition was desperate. ... At a certain point, they even decided to prepare a death certificate... The pope's life was saved in extremis. It was as if he had died and then been snatched back from the very jaws of death. ... As Cardinal Ratzinger correctly explained, a prophecy, even a catastrophic or apocalyptic one, cannot be inevitable. Our Lady called for 'Penance, Penance, Penance!' Prayer and penance are stronger than evil and bullets. Prophecy does not predict some inevitable fate that is deterministically bound to happen no matter what. Otherwise we would be at the mercy of dark forces dangling us over an abyss of nothingness." To this, we could add that as Cardinal Bertone points out, both Lucia and Pope John Paul II interpreted the prophecy in light of this particular assassination attempt.
Why is this private revelation so important to so many people? Isn't the Bible enough for our faith?
Pope Benedict XIV provides the classic answer to this, which Cardinal Bertone quotes on page 74. "In authorizing a private revelation, the Church merely consents to its divulgation for the edification and good of the faithful. Even when such revelations are approved by the Church, however, they cannot be given an assent of Catholic faith. Rather, such revelations fall under the competence of human prudence. Thus, they can at most be assented to with human faith, insofar as they are probable or piously credible. One can thus refuse one's assent to, and ignore, these revelations, so long as one does so with the appropriate reserve, for good reasons, and without feelings of contempt."
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated in this book chat, and to thank all those who read my book and helped put it on the New York Times bestseller list for 5 straight weeks. I look forward to seeing you online next month as we discuss Salt of the Earth by Pope Benedict XVI.