The Vatican Can...
The Vatican has at last revealed the third of the three
Secrets of Fátima, and it turns out to have been a vision of
the attempt to kill Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981.
The revealing was done as through a glass, darkly, by Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state:
contains a prophetic vision similar to those found in the
sacred scripture, which do not describe with photographic
clarity the details of future events, but rather synthesize
and condense against a unified background events spread out
over time in a succession and a duration which are not
specified. As a result, the text must be interpreted in a
See what the cardinal means? He sincerely hopes not.
No church with two thousand years in the miracle business
is going to pin itself down to a prediction anybody could
understand. Leave that to the rookie cults, like Heavens
Gate or those doomsday nutjobs in Uganda.
No, what you want to do
with visions vouchsafed by the Virgin Mary unto three
Portuguese shepherd children in 1917 is just what the Vatican
did: sit on the things unless and until one or more of them
can be made to seem more or less true.
The first two, while
lacking in photographic clarity all right, were eventually seen to have
referred to the World Wars and the rise of communism. They
were released once those events had safely occurred.
third vision--a white-robed bishop shot down as he crosses a
field of corpses--remained under seal. Nothing remotely like
this had, after all, yet happened.
One of the few who knew the
last secret was Karol Wojtyla, who was briefed on it after his
installation as Pope John Paul II in 1978. Three years later
in St. Pauls square a Turkish gunman nearly killed John Paul
as he was celebrating the 64th anniversary of the Fátima
revelations--an excellent day, many of us might think, for him
to have stayed indoors. But then he hadnt been a bishop since
1964 and no corpses were in sight. Thats the trouble with
After the popes near death it seemed to him
that his life had been spared by a motherly hand which guided
the bullets path. President Reagan, too, is said to have
thought that the Lord spoiled John Hinckleys aim. And both
men may be right, for all anyone knows.
But to follow their way
of thinking to its logical conclusion, always a mistake where
religion is concerned, God must have guided a great many other
bullets as well--among them Lee Harvey Oswalds and James Earl
Also those that killed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the
archbishop of San Salvador, while he was celebrating mass in a
white robe a year before the attempt on the pope.
Unfortunately for the archbishops prospects of sainthood,
his bullets came from an anti-communist death squad and were guided by
the fatherly hand of a butcher named Roberto DAubuisson, a
good Catholic boy.