Detractors of the

official version of the

third secret of Fatima
point to reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary that occurred in the early 1970s as evidence that the newly released secret could be false, or, at a minimum, incomplete.

The Vatican released what it says is the actual third secret June 26. The third secret followed

two others
released years ago. The Virgin Mary, the Vatican said, provided the secrets to

three Portuguese children
during a six-month period of time,

on the 13th day of each month,
from May to October 1917.

The secrets, Rome said,

foretold key historical events,
most of which later came to fruition.

Critics of the version of the third secret released by Rome last month say that it is not the “real secret,” and that key portions contained in another version believed to be authentic by some Catholic traditionalists have also been “foretold” by the Holy Mother to a nun in Japan in 1973.

Those apparitions, known collectively as the

“Message of
were revealed to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, beginning June 12, 1973, and lasting nine years, according to various sources.

One published account chronicled the apparitions in this way:

“On June 12, 1973, in Japan, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, after ‘hearing’ (she was deaf) the urgings of an angelic voice, went to the chapel to pray. There she saw brilliant rays coming from the tabernacle; this light reoccurred over the next two days. On her left hand appeared a cross-shaped wound, painful with profuse bleeding, on June 28.

“Sr. Agnes was praying in the chapel on July 6 when she heard a voice coming from the statue of the Virgin Mary. That same day, a few of her colleagues noticed blood flowing from the statue’s right hand; this was repeated on four occasions, finally disappearing on September 29. On that day, the sisters saw the statue ‘sweat’ from the neck and forehead. Two years later, the statue began to ‘weep’ and this continued for over six years.

“The angel who had originally spoken to Sr. Agnes continued to speak to her for the next nine years. The messages given at Akita are thought by some to have [disclosed] the third secret of Fatima. Mary seemed to emphasize the urgency of her plea for the conversion of all humanity by making herself known to a much wider audience. A Japanese TV crew filmed the statue ‘crying’ while reporting on the events at Akita.”

Included in those apparitions were these messages:

  • July 6, 1973: “Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. [The apparition gave the text of a prayer.] Pray very much for the pope, bishop and priests. Tell your superior all that passed today. …”

  • Aug. 3, 1973: “If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you. It is very important; you will convey it to your superior. Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console him to soften the anger of the heavenly father. I wish, with my son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.

    “In order that the world might know his anger, the heavenly father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering him the sufferings of the son on the cross, his precious blood, and beloved souls who console him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the father’s anger. … Even in a secular institute, prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the master.”

  • Oct. 13, 1973: “My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. … The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them. Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.”

The final date of the prophecy given to Agnes by the Holy Mother, researchers point out, was 56 years to the day after the Virgin Mary stopped appearing to the three Portuguese visionaries.

Matthew A. Tsakanikas, a Catholic theologian and one of 20 people accompanying the Catholic Press Association to cover the

preparations in Israel, told WorldNetDaily, “the Message of Akita is known and approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as of 1988.

“Both the local bishop — John Ito, now deceased — in 1984, and Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988, declared the messages and events in Akita to be of supernatural origin and labeled them ‘worthy of belief,'” Tsakanikas said.

“The third message given on Oct. 13, 1973 by the Virgin Mary in Akita … spoke of the ‘demon’ entering the Church,” he said. “[It spoke of] ‘cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop.’ Even worse, the Virgin warned of a ‘fire falling from heaven’ [and] a ‘chastisement’ greater than the ‘deluge.’ She warned that the living would envy the dead.”

Michael Brown,
a noted Catholic researcher and author, said the Message of Akita “bears similarities, sometimes striking ones” to the apocalyptic version of the third secret held by Catholic traditionalists.

“Several years ago, I asked the bishop of the Akita area about the [prophesies], and he sent me a fax saying that the phenomenon of the tears, which came from a statue, had his tentative approval,” Brown told WorldNetDaily yesterday. However, he added, there “is no final approval, and no judgment, on the actual message.”

In another discussion of the similarities between the secrets of Fatima and the Message of Akita,

Inside The Vatican Magazine
published an interview in November 1998 with Howard Dee, former ambassador to the Vatican from the Philippines.

In the article, Dee said, “Bishop Ito, Ordinary of Akita who approved the apparitions, wrote to me after he briefed the Holy Father about the Akita Events and presented his pastoral to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for approval.

“Bishop Ito was certain Akita was an extension of Fatima, and Cardinal Ratzinger personally confirmed to me that these two messages, of Fatima And Akita, are essentially the same,” Dee told the magazine. “Bishop Ito said: ‘The Father wants to purify mankind before it enters into the third millennium.'”

Tsakanikas, who left the Catholic Press Association in April, said at one time that he and a colleague “wrote an article about connection between Fatima, Amsterdam and Akita that a certain person close to the pope wanted to see published.”

Without identifying that person, he added: “We didn’t put much effort into trying for national publication. I have a note from him encouraging its publication. His encouragement does not necessarily reflect any Vatican thinking, however. Maybe he just wanted to see Akita better known.”

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What does ‘third secret’ mean?

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Malachi Martin: Dispelling the myths

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