Pius XII’s Prophetic Warnings about Fatima and the “Suicide” of Altering the Faith in its Liturgy

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In 1933, sixteen years after Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, the future Pope Ven. Pius XII, then Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, Secretary of State to Pope Pius XI, made prophetic remarks in confidence to his friend Count Enrico Pietro Galeazzi. Cardinal Pacelli stated that Our Lady of Fatima’s confidences to Sr. Lucia were a warning against the “suicide” of destruction of the liturgy and other dangers of altering the Faith. Pacelli made similar prophetic warnings in a subsequent conversation with a fellow curial cardinal.

While these Pacellian remarks have appeared in truncated form in various traditional Catholic publications over the years, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Fatima, the entirety of Pius XII’s prophetic remarks are printed here in a fresh English translation, as they appear in Pie XII devant l’Histoire [Pius XII Before History] (1972) by Msgr. Georges Roche & Philippe Saint Germain (See appendix for the full context): 

Suppose, dear friend, that Communism is the most visible among the organs of subversion against the Church and the Tradition of Divine Revelation. Thus, we will witness the invasion of everything that is spiritual: philosophy, science, law, teaching, the arts, the media, literature, theater, and religion.

I am concerned about the confidences of the Virgin to the little Lucia of Fatima. This persistence of the Good Lady in face of the danger that threatens the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that the alteration of the Faith, in its liturgy, its theology, and its soul, would represent.

I hear around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments, and make her remorseful for her historical past. Well, my dear friend, I am convinced that the Church of Peter must affirm her past, or else she will dig her own grave.

I will fight this battle with the greatest energy on the inside of the Church, just as outside of it, even if the forces of evil may one day take advantage of my person, my actions, or my writings, as they try today to deform the history of the Church. All human heresies which alter the word of God are so that a greater light might appear.”

[…]

These underdeveloped peoples will save the Church, Eminence. A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God, that His Son is only a symbol, a philosophy like so many others. And in churches, Christians will search for the red lamp where Jesus awaits them, like the sinful woman crying out before the empty tomb: ‘Where have they taken Him?’

Then, priests will rise up from Africa, from Asia, from America, formed here in this seminary of the Missions, who will say and who will proclaim that the ‘bread of life’ is not ordinary bread, that the mother of the God-man is not a mother like others. And they will be cut to pieces to testify that Christianity is not a religion like others, since her head is the Son of God, and the Church is His Church.

 

Cardinal Pacelli’s Prophesies Coming True Today: 

Cardinal Pacelli’s remarks are stunning prophesies of the current state of affairs in the Church, 84 years later. We are witnessing today that:

  • Russia spreads her errors of communism and secularization throughout the world as Our Lady of Fatima warned. This happens even in the Church through doctrinal, moral, and liturgical relativism and secularization. The smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary.
  • The imposition of Paul VI’s “New Mass” after Vatican II has brought about widespread destruction of the Church’s sacred liturgy and beauty in church architecture. There is widespread grave liturgical irreverence, sometimes even causing the sacraments, including the Eucharist, to be invalid from certain priests using the new rites.
  • There is mass apostasy in the Church and her bishops – “She will doubt as Peter doubted.”
    • She doubts exclusivity of salvation through the Catholic Church and the social kingship of Christ. This is evidenced by harmful ambiguities, compromise formulas, and omissions in the very texts of Vatican II (ex. Nostra Aetate, Lumen Gentium, and Dignitatis Humanae). She doubts that all peoples and nations must become subject to Christ’s rule or ought to convert to the Catholic faith, and favors secular governments and practices. Scandalous practices of ecumenism have led to a virtual abandonment of the Divine Commission in favor of a vacuous, open-ended “dialogue”.
    • She doubts even the universal validity of the Divine Law as seen in the double synod on the family and Pope Francis’ justifications for adultery and of a false notion of conscience in Amoris Laetitia. Numerous bishops conferences are openly violating the Divine law by allowing the divorced and civilly remarried persons living more uxorio to receive Holy Communion.
    • She doubts the eternity and reality of Hell, by devoting her energies to progressive terrestrial utopias under the guise of environmentalism, one-world-government, mass immigration, and wealth redistribution, rather than to the salvation of souls.
  • The Church in Africa flourishes and holds fast to the Catholic Faith, especially on sexual ethics, while the Western Catholic Church is losing the faith and dying out.
  • Faithful Catholics suffer at the hands of fellow Catholics (white martyrdom) and non-Catholics (sometimes red martyrdom) because they refuse to give in to the prevailing moral relativism and religious syncretism.

Implications for Fatima

Cardinal Pacelli’s words about Fatima are especially revealing. Pacelli states his belief that the warnings of Our Lady at Fatima are about primarily internal threats to the Church rather than external ones; namely, through the “suicide” of the “alteration of the Faith in its in its liturgy, its theology, and its soul.” This runs contrary to the narrative of those who argue that message of Fatima only speaks of individual conversion, and not warning of the crisis in the Church we are experiencing today since Vatican II.

As to the Third Secret and its possible unrevealed part about apostasy in the Church even touching the pope, it should be noted that Pius XII did not likely ever read Sr. Lucia’s letter containing the Third Secret. According to the testimonies of Cardinal Ottaviani and Monsignor Capovilla, Secretary of Pope John XXIII, the envelope containing the secret, which arrived in Rome on April 16, 1957, was still sealed when John XXIII opened it in 1959, one year after Pius XII’s death. However, having been made Secretary of State to Pius XI just twelve years after the Fatima apparitions, Pacelli was apparently informed and even gravely concerned by the yet unwritten “confidences of the Virgin to Sister Lucia”, which presumably warned of a crisis of faith in the Church.

 

Regarding the authenticity and reliability of Cardinal Pacelli’s comments

Private comments like Cardinal Pacelli’s, that are later revealed can only be rejected as inauthentic on two bases: if the comments conflict with known truth, or if the one who reveals them is untrustworthy.

On both counts, these Pacelli quotations stand up to scrutiny. They not only do not conflict with the truth, but rather, in fact, prophetically predict the state of the Church today. The credentials of Count Galeazzi, the source, and Msgr. Roche, the author of Pie XII devant l’histoire, moreover, are sound.

If the quotes were fabricated, surely Count Galeazzi (who died in 1986, 14 years after Pie XII devant l’histoire was first published) would have challenged the veracity of Msgr Roche’s account, and surely Msgr. Roche wouldn’t have dared to publish this account, in consultation with Galeazzi in the first place, if the passage were blatantly false, knowing that Galeazzi was alive and could easily debunk it. Both men were men of learning, reputation and proximity to the time, the events, the people, and the Pontiff Pius XII himself.

Msgr. Roche, moreover, was secretary and confidant for thirty years to the French Cardinal Eugène Tisserant (who himself was archivist and pro-prefect of the Vatican Library from 1930 to 1936), and whose archives are cited as the primary source of the book. It was reported upon Tisserant’s death that he bequeathed his personal files to Msgr Roche. Tisserant himself was consecrated by Cardinal Pacelli (Pius XII) and was respected so much that he was the first person after Pope Paul VI to sign each of the acts of the Vatican II.

It should be noted that Pie XII devant l’histoire was given a scathing review by liberal laicized ex-priest Emile Poulat at the time of its publication in “Archives des sciences sociales des religions” (1972, vol. 33, no. 33, p. 292-293). Poulat called the work as a whole “improbable, bearing little resemblance to the truth.” He criticized the authors for poor citations, bibliographies, and various errors, “all from the same fanciful ink.”  Poulat, however, had suspect motives for criticizing the book. Poulat was a Modernist priest who renounced the priesthood following Pius XII’s 1954 condemnation of the modernist worker-priest movement, of which Poulat was a member. It is more than reasonable to disregard Poulat’s critiques as that of a disgruntled ex-cleric with a modernist agenda, irrelevant to the question of the veracity of these particular quotes from Pacelli, which Poulat does not even address in his critique of the book.

Msgr. Roche’s Pie XII devant l’histoire is also cited by several historical biographies about the life of Pius XII, such as in Jacques Kornberg’s The Pope’s Dilemma, Neal Pease’s Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter, and Philippe Chenaux’s Paul VI: Le souverain éclairé.

The skeptical critic, therefore, must prove a documentary fraud on the part of close collaborators of Pius XII (with no clear motive), involving the invention of an entire conversation that never happened, and he must show how it is that an allegedly fabricated conversation turned out to be so full of accurate prophecies.

 

Conclusion

While some may rightly point out the Pope Pius XII’s controversial reforms of the Holy Week liturgy in 1955 and 1956, devised by the modernist Annibale Bugnini, began this process of the destruction of the liturgy that culminated in the New Mass, nevertheless, Cardinal Pacelli’s warnings about the “suicide” of altering the faith “in its liturgy” are chilling warnings for our time. Indeed, we have witnessed Pacelli’s warnings of an anthroprocentric Church come true through the harmful dealings of bishops and even popes in living memory and today, from Pope John XXIII and Paul VI to Pope Francis. Pacelli’s image of Mary Magdalene at the tomb is a powerful one for the sufferings of faithful Catholics in our own time in watching the events warned by Our Lady of Fatima unfold: “Christians will search for the red lamp where Jesus awaits them, like the sinful woman crying out before the empty tomb: ‘Where have they taken Him?”

Cardinal Pacelli’s remarks, however, have two optimistic prophesies for traditional Catholics to take courage in, of how Christ will save His Church. The first is that, “All human heresies which alter the word of God are so that a greater light might appear.” Indeed, many have noted that the acute crisis in the Church, especially manifest in the papacy of Pope Francis, have unmasked many of the wolves in sheep’s clothing among bishops, priests, and career Catholic lay commentators. The current crisis has also effectively rendered the ultamontanism of Catholic neo-conservatism untenable, at last opening up a frank discussion of the sources of the crisis in what went wrong at Vatican II and the Pauline liturgical reforms. We may hope that “greater light” may appear for future successors of Pope Francis who will be tasked with the duty of restoring the Church from damage done not only by the papacy of Pope Francis but by Vatican II itself.

The second hopeful prophesy is that the “underdeveloped peoples” in Africa, Asia, etc “will save the Church.” Pacelli’s prediction brings to mind recent remarks by Cardinal Robert Sarah speaking of Africa’s strong stance in favor of the family at the synod on the family: “I have a conviction: It will be Africa, and therefore the Church, who will save the family… In this deep anthropological crisis, Africa, despite her poverty, and indeed because of this poverty, which is the poverty of Christ in the Gospel, can give to the Church her most precious treasure: fidelity to God and to the Gospel, her love of life and the family.” Soon Africa and other nations who were once the mission territory of Christianity may re-evangelize the post-Christian Western world that first brought them the Faith.

To conclude, we have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the prophetic confidences of Cardinal Pacelli in 1933. Indeed, they are worthy of prayerful meditation and widest dissemination by faithful Catholics during this, the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, so that we too can help end the suicidal crisis that the Church is undergoing today.

 

Appendix:

For the benefit of OnePeterFive readers, below are reprinted Cardinal Pacelli’s remarks in the full narrative context in which they occur in Pie XII devant l’Histoire. Thanks is due to Dr. Maike Hickson, who so kindly reviewed this English translation from the original French.

Click here for a scan of the original French text.


Msgr. Georges Roche & Philippe Saint Germain, Pie XII devant l’Histoire [Pius XII Before History], Paris: Robert Laffont, 1972.

Preface

In order to understand Pius XII’s thought and to reconstitute the overall vision that was his, the authors of this dossier consulted the archives of the diplomatic missions to the Holy See, the personal documents of Cardinal Spellman, the documents received by the Secretary of State, in The Acts and Documents of the Holy See Related to the Second World War. They were guided in their research by Fr. Pierre Blet who was the archivist of the acts of Pius XII, together with three of his confreres of the Society of Jesus. The collaboration and advice of the relatives of the Holy Father gave this narrative warmth of life, among whom the authors are particularly grateful to Mother Pascalina, Count Galeazzi, and the late Prince Carlo Pacelli.

[pg. 52-54]

[…] Msgr. Pacelli is fifty-seven years old and has a capacity for work that exhausts his entourage. “Everything rose in him like a flame,” said Mother Pascalina, remembering this time. She often finds him in his office, kneeling on his prie-dieu, where he begs the Most High to enlighten him. This diplomat, who is so perfectly aware of events, of the men who make them, and of the reasons which guide them in detail, is first of all a mystic at the service of the City of St. Augustine.

The building of a “universal juridical order,” a real force of moral persuasion, which the Holy See tries to build on the basis of the Lateran Accords, would be only a diplomatic artifice if the modernist tendencies which manifest themselves came to compromise Christian doctrine. The jurist Pacelli, who carried out the codification of canon law, is aware of the necessity for reform, but he is not one of those who act lightly.

To believe in men is first of all not to hide the truth from them by celebrating virtue, liberty, progress, science, while the age comes to give birth to atomic bombs, concentration camps, materialism of the State, and moral nihilism. To believe in men is to warn them against “a social providence” which would regulate for them the eternal conflict between good and evil, truth and error, and would assure them a conditioned happiness in their termite mound.

[In 1933] to Count Enrico Pietro Galeazzi (fn. blood-brother of Prof. Riccardo Galeazzi; the medical oculist of the pope after 1930; architect of the sacred palaces; general counselor of the state; secret Camerlengo of the Cape and Sword; privy counselor), who will become one of his [Mgsr. Pacelli’s] most intimate collaborators and who is visiting him to settle the details of his sojourn in America, he [Mgsr. Pacelli] made a confidence that sheds light on the providential man who assisted Pius XI:

— “Suppose, dear friend, that Communism is the most visible among the organs of subversion against the Church and the Tradition of Divine Revelation. Thus, we will witness the invasion of everything that is spiritual: philosophy, science, law, teaching, the arts, the media, literature, theater, and religion.

I am concerned about the confidences of the Virgin to the little Lucia of Fatima. This persistence of the Good Lady in face of the danger that threatens the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that the alteration of the Faith, in its liturgy, its theology, and its soul, would represent.”

Pius XII paused for a moment.

“I hear around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments, and make her remorseful for her historical past. Well, my dear friend, I am convinced that the Church of Peter must affirm her past, or else she will dig her own grave.

I will fight this battle with the greatest energy on the inside of the Church, just as outside of it, even if the forces of evil may one day take advantage of my person, my actions, or my writings, as they try today to deform the history of the Church. All human heresies which alter the word of God are so that a greater light might appear.”

At this moment, Count Galeazzi adds, the gaze of the pope, veiled by the glasses of his spectacles, has become supernatural, and an irresistible mystical force emanates from his long and fragile body.

Msgr. Pacelli became aware of the state in which he placed his interlocutors, and apologized for a trivial word, which returned the conversation to its terrestrial orbit. This is the mystical fervor that brings Pius XI to be more close to his Secretary of State than any minister of the Church has ever been attached to his chief (fn. Msgr. Pacelli wished to be appointed to an apostolic position. The affection that Pius XI bore for him made him a cardinal on December 16, 1929 with the title of St. John and Paul of Mount Callius. The action of the Holy Spirit urged Pius XI to make him his Camerlengo on April 1, 1935.) They are seen everywhere together on the pilgrimage of the J.O.C [Young Christian Workers] in 1931, during which the Secretary of State gave communion to an eighteen-year-old metal worker, while twelve thousand “jocists” sang under the cupola of St. Peter’s: “We will meet again, Christians, our brothers,” during the Jubilee commemorating the 19th Centenary of the Redemption, during which the Vicar of Christ will honor the Institution of the Holy Last Supper, which raised the Apostles to the priestly order, the Passion of Christ, His resurrection, and the preaching of the Apostles. As Prefect of the Council, Secretary of State Pacelli himself presided over “the Holy Hour,” which brought together all of Christendom into the smallest chapels of the Church of the Vatican.

A witness to the Soviet persecution, Msgr. Slozkaz, who escaped from the “Red Hell”, attends this ceremony as the first victim of this crucifixion, which has been the mark of Christians since the establishment of the Church of Peter.

Already, Msgr. Pacelli is fond of symbolic locations, those that strike the spirit and permeate the soul. He built this seminary of the Missions, drawn from the will of Pius XI, on the promontory of the Janiculum overlooking Saint Peter’s Square. It is the Church of tomorrow, the one that will include all peoples of color in the government of the Church. For its construction, Msgr. Pacelli obtained a credit that the “high administration” of the Vatican almost refused him.

“You see too much greatness in the underdeveloped peoples,” a curial cardinal criticizes.

“These underdeveloped peoples will save the Church, Eminence. A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God, that His Son is only a symbol, a philosophy like so many others. And in churches, Christians will search for the red lamp where Jesus awaits them, like the sinful woman crying out before the empty tomb: ‘Where have they taken Him?’

Then, priests will rise up from Africa, from Asia, from America, formed here in this seminary of the Missions, who will say and who will proclaim that the ‘bread of life’ is not ordinary bread, that the mother of the God-man is not a mother like others. And they will be cut to pieces to testify that Christianity is not a religion like others, since her head is the Son of God, and the Church is His Church.”

The Church, Pacelli carries her within him. Each time that he becomes animated, that he speaks, he does not recite his speeches, he delivers them. Pius XI was impressed by the force of this speech, and once he said to Bishop Tardini: “Ah! What a beautiful pope he will make. So that the world may know him, and so that he may know the world, he will be my legate” (fn. Pacelli Family Documents).

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