From: John Schreiber
(Excerpted from Soul Magazine Mar-April 1998 issue, page 24)
The third secret of Fatima was in the news in Italy last October when French Mariologist Father RenΓ© Laurentin argued on Italian television that the secret referred to a "spiritual crisis," apostasy and divisions in the church. Pope John XXIII erred when he decided not to publish the secret in 1960, Laurentin said, according to a report in the November issue of "Inside the Vatican."
The magazine reported that Vittorio Messori, known for his interviews with Cardinal Ratzinger, agreed with Father Laurentin. He wrote in Corriere della Sera, "Evidence confirming this ‘ecclesial' reading lies in the one phrase we know from the revelation, which has been otherwise kept secret until now: ‘Portugal will always hold fast to our dogma.' It seems evident that here a privilege is being announced, in the context of a church which will not hold fast to the ‘dogma." A further confirmation is that, when Sister Lucia in 1944 sent the text of what she had heard from the Virgin on July 13, 1917, to Rome, she stipulated that the letter not be opened before 1960. "Because then," she said, "everything will be clearer..."
Messori asserted that Pope John XXIII opened the letter containing the secret in August 1959. He said it conflicted with the pope's policy of "optimism at all costs," and was consigned to the Vatican archives. He claimed that Popes Paul VI and John Paul II were "prisoners of John XXIII's decision." In fact, how can they admit that, not heeding even divine warnings, Roncalli (John XXIII) did not take prudent measures to head off the predicted crisis in the church?" Messori opined.