The Third Secret of Fatima Revealed?
The upcoming trip of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel is likely to shed considerable light on the meaning of two enigmatic prophecies – one that dates back to the Middle Ages and the other that is less than a century old. I am speaking, of course, about the two interlaced prophecies concerning the Papacy that occupied most of my attention in the first Apokalypso volume, Prophecies of the End of Time: St. Malachy’s 12th Century visions of future Popes, and the Third Secret of Fatima revealed to Portuguese shepherdess Lucia dos Santos in 1917.
As for St. Malachy’s prophecies, they were published over four centuries ago, and their content, if not their authenticity, is not in dispute. Malachy O’Morgair Archbishop of Armagh was summoned to Rome to confer with Pope Innocent II in 1137. Upon catching his first glimpse of the Eternal City (so the story goes) he fell into a trance, in which he saw a parade of 108 Pontiffs, beginning with Pope Innocent’s successor and ending with last Pope, Peter II. In Malachy’s vision, each Pope had a unique epithet or motto. Over the intervening years, these epithets have proven uncannily prescient, and they all seem to have several layers of meaning.
As discussed in my 2005 update, entitled “The Glory of the Olive Tree, Revisited”, the motto for Pope Benedict XVI, Gloria olivae, can be interpreted on several levels. Most obvious is the link to the name Benedict itself, since the olive tree is a symbol of the Benedictine order. On a deeper level, the epithet relates to Israel, and more particularly to the Temple of Solomon, in which the “Glory of Israel” was thought to abide. Within the Temple itself, the Glory resided in the innermost sanctuary, the so-called “Holy of Holies”, where no one but the High Priest could enter.
Within the Temple’s “Holy of Holies” was a large rock which the Jews call the Eben Shetiyyah, or “foundation stone”, because it’s considered to be the foundation on which the Earth was created. Jewish, Christian and Moslem traditions have all taught that this rock marks the “center of the World”, a center that was associated with the emblem of the Cross long before the crucifixion of Jesus. The same traditions identify this stone as the site of the altar that Noah raised when he left the Ark. God’s Covenant with Noah, which unites Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is symbolized by the sign of the celestial Bow. In the Jewish festival of Lag b’Omer, arrows are customarily fired into the air as a reminder of the Bow of that Covenant. According to Jewish legend, the age of the Messiah will open on the date of Lag b’Omer, and the reappearance of the Bow in its full splendor will augur the Messiah’s appearance.
The “Glory of the Olive Tree” – which is to say, “The Glory of Israel” – also relates to the Ark of the Covenant, which rested on top of the Shetiyyah stone in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was so named because it contained the tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai. In 1 Samuel 4:22, the capture of the Ark by the Philistines was lamented in these words: “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.” Shortly before the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC, the Ark of the Covenant was hidden by the Jewish High Priest, supposedly in a deep cavern beneath the Shetiyyah stone.
When the Second Temple was built after the Babylonian exile, the Ark of the Covenant was not found, but the Eben Shetiyyah remained to mark the location of the Holy of Holies. When the Roman destroyed the Temple again in 70 AD, nothing was left but the outer walls below the Temple Mount that still exist today. But on the Temple Mount itself, the foundation stone remained. In the 7th Century, the “Rock” would become one of Islam’s most sacred sites as the spot from which the Prophet Mohammed was said to have ascended into heaven. When the Moslems conquered Jerusalem, they built the Dome of the Rock mosque around the Eben Shetiyyah and also constructed the nearby Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.
Getting back to the Pope’s visit to Israel, he will generally be following an itinerary similar to that of John Paul’s visit in 2000. But there is one very significant difference. Benedict, unlike John Paul, will visit the Dome of the Rock, the very site to which his motto Gloria olivae applies. Not only that, but his visit to the Dome of the Rock will be on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, which is the day of the bow-and-arrow festival of Lag b’Omer. And the next day, May 13th, is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Which brings us back to the content of the Third Secret.
Unlike Malachy’s prophecies, the Third Secret remains somewhat of a mystery. When Our Lady appeared to Lucia and her two companions in July 1917, she showed the three children a series of visions, culminating in one of a “Bishop dressed in White” being assassinated beneath a large Cross at the summit of a mountain by soldiers firing bullets and arrows. After the visions, Our Lady explained their meaning to the children, but asked that the last part of her explanation be kept secret. In 1944 Lucia wrote the secret on a single sheet of paper and placed it in a sealed envelope entrusted it to the Bishop of Fatima for delivery to the Pope, with instructions that it be opened and disclosed to the World in the year 1960. This document came to be known as the Third Secret of Fatima.
While the Vatican claims to have disclosed the Third Secret in June 2000, what was actually revealed was Lucia’s account of the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White”, not the explanatory narrative of Our Lady. Instead, the Vatican supplied its own interpretation of the Fatima Vision, which was written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. According to his analysis, the Vision was simply a premonition of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 – and nothing more. Since his interpretation neglects the obvious inconsistency that John Paul, unlike the Pope of the Vision, survived the shooting, it has become increasingly discredited among Fatima scholars. Another defect in the “official explanation” is that it doesn’t even attempt to address is the anachronistic arrows that are fired at the Pope in the Fatima Vision.
But ironically, the scenario of Benedict’s visit to the Dome of the Rock on May 12, 2009, actually matches the Fatima Vision much better than the attempt on the life of his predecessor. He will ascend to the summit of the Temple Mount, to the Dome of the Rock which marks the symbolic Cross of the World’s center (and was surmounted by an actual Cross during the Crusaders’ occupation of Jerusalem), on a date marked by the ritual shooting of arrows. The Fatima Vision also has the Pope ascending the mountain after witnessing scenes of horrific carnage. According to Benedict’s itinerary, he will witness precisely such scenes in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial the day before he visits the Dome of the Rock.
Does all this mean that Benedict is the “Bishop dressed in White” of the Fatima Vision? Does it mean he’s destined to be assassinated on the Temple Mount on May 12th? I think not. As I explain in the third chapter of Prophecies of the End of Time, the Bishop of the Vision must be the last Pope, Malachy’s “Peter of Rome”. Yet the strikingly coincidental alignment of timing and events for the Pope’s visit of May 12th does suggest that something remarkable will occur, something which will shed new light on the meaning of both the Third Secret and Benedict’s “Glory of the Olive Tree” epithet.
Do we have any clues as to what this occurrence might involve? Certainly, the Temple Mount is not only the center of the World, but also its most vulnerable and volatile piece of real estate. For example, during the recent Passover holiday, Israeli extremists threatened to hold Jewish prayer services in the Al Aqsa mosque and actually forced their way into the mosque’s courtyard. Religious fanatics, including a former Israeli chief rabbi, have suggested destroying the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa and building a Third Temple on the site. Others have urged that the Temple Mount be opened up to archaeological excavations in search of the lost Ark of the Covenant. And, as I outlined in my 2005 update, the Vatican has its own agenda for the Temple Mount, as it aspires to become the custodian of Jerusalem’s sacred sites under some future Middle East peace agreement.
An “incident” on the Temple Mount might provide a pretext for Israeli security forces to take control of the Temple Mount – a step, perhaps, in the direction of “relocating” the Moslem holy sites and/or sanctioning archaeological digs. Such an incident might also lead to some form of international supervision over the Temple Mount, with eager Vatican participation. In either case, the risks associated with these gambits are enormous, with Armageddon quite literally in the offing.
Although the nature of the incident on the Temple Mount is uncertain, it’s aftermath is sure to involve massive disinformation and deception. As I explain in my first book, arrows are frequently featured in scriptural imagery as metaphors for lies and calumnies. If something does go amiss during the Pope’s visit to the Dome of the Rock, we can be sure that there will emerge a convenient “villain” against whom the wrath of righteous indignation can be directed by an orchestrated campaign of slanders.
When the clouds propaganda finally part, however, we may arrive at a clearer idea of what the Third Secret of Fatima actually says and what it actually asks of the Catholic Church and its Pontiff. Benedict XVI, who as a Cardinal was so instrumental in down-playing the significance of the Fatima revelations, may through a bizarre twist of fate become an instrument of finally fulfilling Our Lady’s directives.