Cardinal Silvio Oddi, who died in 2001, was one of the most outspoken conservative prelates of his time. He also has a special place in the history of the debate about the message of Fatima, inasmuch as he insistently tried to get Pope John XXIII to publish the Third Secret of Fatima. As the British newspaper The Telegraph reported upon his death:
In yet another unguarded interview, published in 1990, Cardinal Oddi spoke about his relationship with John XXIII. In the early 1960s, when acting as his secretary, he told the Pope: “Most Holy Father, there is one thing for which I cannot forgive you”. The Pope, surprised, asked what it was. Oddi replied that he had not revealed the Third Secret of Fatima, conveyed to three Portuguese children by the Virgin Mary in 1917, which had been scheduled for release in 1960. [emphasis added]
“Let’s not talk about it,” replied the Pope. Oddi said he had already delivered a hundred sermons and speeches on the subject. “I told you not to mention it,” said the Pope.
When recently going through the archives of my husband, Dr. Robert Hickson, with regard to another matter, I happened to find a file on the Fatima debate. In it, there was to be found the famous interview which Cardinal Oddi gave, in April of 1990, to the international monthly journal 30 Days. Since the interview is not available on the journal’s own website, I shall quote from the hard copy from my husband’s archive, but here is a link to the same interview, even though this link says that the interview was published by another journal, Il Sabato magazine. I shall present parts of this interview to our readers who might be still in the process of learning more about Fatima, just as I do.
Cardinal Oddi, who had been had been the secretary of Archbishop Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli — later Pope John XXIII — during the time the latter served as the apostolic nuncio in Paris, said in the 1990 interview that he did not believe that the then-unpublished Third Secret was mainly about developments in Russia, with Gorbachev and his perestroika, and such. He responds to the question whether he agrees with this Russian thesis, as follows:
No, on the contrary, I remain very skeptical. I believe I knew John XXIII quite well, since I spent a number of years at his side when he was at the nunciature in Paris. If the Secret had concerned realities consoling for the Church like the conversion of Russia or the religious rebirth of eastern Europe, I believe that he would have brought pressure to bear to make the Secret public.
By temperament he did not hesitate to communicate joyful things (it has been revealed that Cardinal Roncalli in a number of letters to friends practically announced his election to the papacy). But when I asked him during an audience why in 1960, when the obligation to keep the Secret secret had come to an end, he had not made public the last part of the message of Fatima, he responded with a weary sigh. He then said: “Don’t bring that subject up with me, please …” [emphasis added]
Later in that same interview, Cardinal Oddi explains his own theory concerning the content of the Third Secret of Fatima:
What happened in 1960 that might have been seen in connection with the Secret of Fatima? The most important event is without a doubt the launching of the preparatory phase of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore I would not be surprised if the Secret had something to do with the convocation of Vatican II… [emphasis added]
When asked, “Why do you say that?” Oddi responds, in part:
From the attitude Pope John showed during our conversation, I deduced – but it is only an hypothesis – that the Secret might contain a part that could have a rather unpleasant ring to it. John XXIII had convened the Council with the precise intention of directing the forces of the Church toward the solution of the problems that concern all of humanity, beginning from within. That is, he intended the work to begin with the evangelical perfection pursued by consecrated persons … But we all know that, despite the great merits of the Council, many sad things have also taken place. These sad things are not due to the Council, but they took place in conjunction with the Council. I am thinking, for example, of the number of priests who have abandoned the priesthood: it is said that there have been 80,000. But one only has to recall the anguish with which the Holy Father, Paul VI, in 1968 cried out against the “autodemolition” taking place in the Church [to include the “smoke of Satan” quote].
Concluding his own reflections upon the possible content of the Third Secret of Fatima, Cardinal Oddi adds:
This: that I would not be surprised if the Third Secret alluded to dark times for the Church: grave confusions and troubling apostasies within Catholicism itself … If we consider the grave crisis we have lived through since the Council, the signs that this prophecy has been fulfilled do not seem to be lacking [emphasis added]
These words might resound in the words of Sister Lucia of Fatima that have been reported just today in a Catholic World Report interview with Kevin J. Symonds, a Fatima scholar, who now quotes the seer as having written a letter to Pope Paul VI:
“In her letter, Sr. Lúcia spoke about a ‘diabolical revolt’ that was being ‘promoted by the powers of darkness’ with ‘errors’ being made against God, His Church, her doctrines and dogmas,” Symonds told Catholic World Report. “She said the Church was going through an ‘agony in Gethsemane’ and that there was a ‘worldwide disorientation that is martyring the Church.’ She wrote to encourage Paul VI as the Vicar of Christ on earth and to tell him of her and others’ steadfastness to him, to Christ and His Church in the midst of the revolt.”
In 1984, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had given an interview to Jesus magazine (also this document I found in my husband’s archives, but I give here a link available on the Internet) in which the prelate responds to the question as to why the Third Secret had not yet been revealed, as follows:
Because, according to the judgement of the Popes, it [the Third Secret] adds nothing (literally: “nothing different”) to what a Christian must know concerning what derives from Revelation: i.e., a radical call for conversion; the absolute importance of history; the dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian, and therefore of the world. And then the importance of the “novissimi” (the last events at the end of time). If it is not made public — at least for the time being — it is in order to prevent religious prophecy from being mistaken for a quest for the sensational (literally: “for sensationalism”). But the things contained in this “Third Secret” correspond to what has been announced in Scripture and has been said again and again in many other Marian apparitions, first of all that of Fatima in what is already known of what its message contains. Conversion and penitence are the essential conditions for “salvation.” [emphasis added]
As we continue to see our historic Catholic Faith attenuated, diminished and undermined by the day – much of it still being done in the name of the “Spirit of the Council” – and often by high-ranking prelates themselves, we cannot stop reflecting upon what Cardinal Oddi’s own well-considered theory about the Third Secret was. The Third Secret – that is, the vision – as we now have seen it putatively fully revealed in 2000, does not explain to us the danger of apostasy, nor the other dangers threatening the Faith.
I myself cannot imagine that Our Lady, in 1917 and afterwards, would not want us to be forewarned about what was to come in the years after 1960, if certain things were not loyally done. May there, pray God, soon be more truth and light to come to us in this important matter, at the end of the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima.