August 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Father Frank Unterhalt, a German diocesan priest and speaker of a group of faithful priests called Communio veritatis, has written an article about the current crisis in the Catholic Church and linking it back to the message of Our Lady of Fatima. He quotes Cardinal Ciappi, a theologian of the Papal House from 1955 to 1989, who stated in 1995: “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
In his statement (see full text below), Father Unterhalt of the Archdiocese of Paderborn sums up different aspects that help us to see that the Church has been infiltrated for quite some time now by anti-Catholic forces. Here, he quotes the former Communist Bella Dodd who admitted to having helped infiltrate the Church in the U.S. with some 1,100 communist priests, and he also refers back to the Freemasonic instruction “Alta Vendita” which aimed at receiving “a pope according to our needs.”
Father Unterhalt also quotes George Weigel who, after studying the communist archives, described in 2011 “how the communist governments and secret services infiltrated the Vatican and used diplomatic relations with the Holy See to promote their interests – as one might expect – and to strengthen their efforts to penetrate the highest levels of the Catholic Church’s leadership, especially the Vatican itself – an approach that many high-ranking dignitaries in the Vatican apparently did not see through.”
The German priest also reminds us that it was already Father Maximilian Kolbe, who in 1917 witnessed an appearance of Freemasons in Rome holding up a flag with the words “Satan shall reign in the Vatican, and the Pope shall be his slave.”
It was Pope Benedict XVI who announced in 2010 that the Third Secret of Fatima is about the fact that “the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church.”
Here, we might also be reminded of the fact that, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he had said that Freemasonry was the greatest danger for the Church.
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Father Unterhalt does not mention the ongoing debate as to whether or not Rome has even fully published all the words of Sister Lucia of Fatima relating to the Third Secret, a discussion that is kept alive since the official publication of the Third Secret in Rome in June of 2000. In any event, the words of Cardinal Ciappi about an apostasy at the top of the Church as quoted by Father Unterhalt are not contained in the officially published Third Secret. It is to be hoped that future research will give us further light in this matter.
For example, Cardinal Silvio Oddi, who 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, stated in 1990 in an interview about the Third Secret: “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 [Second Vatican] Council, the signs that this prophecy has been fulfilled do not seem to be lacking.”
Father Unterhalt also reminds us that both the Book of Revelation and the Catechism of the Catholic Church speak to us about the loss of Faith at the end of times and of the final trials of the Church. Here he quotes the catechism as saying: “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
Father Unterhalt has been making strong statements in the last years that are pertaining to the preservation of the Catholic Faith. He and his priestly group Communio veritatis opposed, for example, the idea of intercommunion with Protestants; he publicly rebuked the head of the German bishops, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, for adapting the Catholic Church to the zeitgeist; and he condemned the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand while standing. Unterhalt also rejected Pope Francis’ new rule of giving Holy Communion to adulterers. Finally, he encouraged us to remain close to Our Lady, saying that “Many faithful are asking themselves today how one can withstand the current storm of the great test and remain in the true Faith. I would like to answer that with the famous words of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which leads you to God!’”
Full statement by Father Frank Unterhalt
The Church lives through the Third Secret of Fatima
It is high time to understand the full meaning of the prophetic announcement made by Cardinal Wojtyła at the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…”
It is important to realize the full dimension of this dramatic appeal! Above all, one must consider what an anti-church needs at its head. In this sense, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen affirmed: “There will be a mystical Body of the antichrist, which will resemble in all its externals the Mystical Body of Christ.”
During his visit to Germany in 1980, Pope John Paul II, when asked in Fulda how things were going with the Church in relation to the Third Secret of Fatima, replied with the following words: “We must prepare ourselves for great trials in the near future. Yes, they may even require giving our lives, and total dedication to Christ and for Christ! It can be softened by your and our prayer, but it cannot be averted. Only in this way can the true renewal of the Church arrive. How often has the renewal of the Church been born from blood. It will not be any different this time. Let us be strong and let us prepare and trust in Christ and His Holy Mother! Let us pray the Rosary very much and often!”
Shortly after, this turned real for him. On May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God Mary in Fatima in 1917, the assassination attempt took place in Rome. Here the whole trial of which he spoke became visible in a dramatic picture. The direct attack against the Holy Father was not only directed at him, but at the entire Mystical Body of Christ on earth. According to the teaching of St. Augustine, the Pope is the “figura ecclesiae” and represents the whole Church. Against this background, she must understand that she is in the midst of an apocalyptic struggle in which everything is at stake. This becomes even clearer when we consider the exact circumstances of the assassination attempt: The five shots were fired at 17:17.
On the one hand, this unmistakably points to the year in which Freemasonry was founded, 1717. St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe witnessed their demonstration on St. Peter’s Square in Rome in 1917. The Apostle of the Immaculata read the professed plan of the Freemasons on the relevant flag: “Satan shall reign in the Vatican, and the Pope shall be his slave.”
On the other hand, in the same year 1917, the October Revolution occurred in Russia with the manifestation of atheist communism and the connected decisive struggle.
In these contexts, the attack on the head of the Catholic Church shows the hostile attempt to overcome her completely. The aim of the attack in Rome was obviously to remove the God-given foundation of the Church in order to replace it with another “leadership.”
Of course, this plan did not end with the assassination attempt, which failed from the enemy’s point of view – to the contrary. Enlightening in this context is a letter of Sister Lucia to the Holy Father of May 12, 1982(!), in which she referred to the third part of the Secret: “Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides.”
The theologian and writer Prof. Dr. George Weigel has analyzed the archives of the communist fight against Karol Wojtyła and Pope John Paul II, and has described the pertinent campaign as follows: “This material illustrates how the communist governments and secret services infiltrated the Vatican and used diplomatic relations with the Holy See to promote their interests – as one might expect – and to strengthen their efforts to penetrate the highest levels of the Catholic Church’s leadership, especially the Vatican itself – an approach that many high-ranking dignitaries in the Vatican apparently did not see through.”
The shocking confession of the well-known Dr. Bella Dodd, a high-ranking member of the Communist Party in the USA, opens our eyes in a special way to the historical background. After her conversion to the Catholic faith, the former activist gave sworn testimony about the deliberate infiltration of the Church. According to her own testimony, she followed an order by Stalin at the time, which was issued to all Communist Party organizations to have agents without faith and morals infiltrate Catholic seminaries and religious orders.
This plan from Moscow was implemented extremely effectively – right down to the Vatican. In the 1950s, she explained: “In the 1930s we put 1100 men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within, right now they are in the highest places in the Church.”
Dr. Bella Dodd left no doubt about the drastic consequences: “You will not recognize the Catholic Church.”
The philosopher Prof. Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand provides us with a profound analysis which clearly shows that the decisive battle is not outside but inside the Church herself: “An unprejudiced look at the present devastation of the Lord’s vineyard cannot overlook the fact that a ‘fifth column’ has formed in the Church (it is also called a mafia by some, even on the Church side), a group of purposeful destroyers of the Church. […] Their systematic and refined undermining of Holy Mother Church also bears clear enough witness to the fact that this is a deliberate conspiracy on the hand of the Freemasons and the Communists, who – despite their differences and other enmities – work together for this goal. For Freemasonry, the Church is the arch-enemy, and for the Communists the main obstacle to the conquest of the world. […] But the incomprehensible thing is that this conspiracy exists within the Church, that there are bishops and even cardinals, and above all priests and religious who are a kind of Judas.”
Bishop Dr. Rudolf Graber has dealt with the goal of the hostile strategy. He quotes the so-called “Alta Vendita” – the Masonic plan for revolution within the Catholic Church. In it, it says: “What we demand, what we look for and have to await – just as the Jews await their Messiah – is a Pope according to our needs […] We do not doubt our reaching this highest goal of our efforts.”
In this context the famous word formulated by Cardinal Ciappi is of particular importance. He was an expert on the Third Secret of Fatima and theologian of the Papal House from 1955 to 1989. In a letter to Prof. Baumgartner from Salzburg in 1995, he wrote: “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
A look into the Book of Revelation makes this clear.
The fire-red dragon (cf. Rev 12:3) represents atheistic communism, which seeks to destroy faith in God. In this battle two beasts come to the aid of the dragon, who shows himself to have powerful strength.
The black beast, which resembles a panther (cf. Rev 13:1-2), is Freemasonry. It acts in the background and hides itself in the shadows to be able to penetrate everywhere unrecognized. The throne and power of the dragon have been given to him (cf. Rev 13:2).
The other beast is ecclesial Freemasonry: “He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon” (Rev 13:11). This is a reference to the hierarchy of the Church, in which the mitre – with two horns – indicates the fullness of the priesthood. The beast that comes up out of the earth looks like a servant of Christ the Lamb, but is a servant of Satan the dragon.
The False Prophet (cf. Rev 19:20) is the pseudo-religious leader of the anti-church and drives apostasy from the top. He deceives and betrays the inhabitants of the earth (cf. Rev 13:14) and wants to lead people to worship the antichrist (cf. Rev 13:12), of whom he is the forerunner.
A direct reference to the Third Secret of Fatima is also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
The Paschal Mystery of Christ is thus intensely renewed in his Mystical Body. The Church will follow her Lord in his death and resurrection.
This is why Pope Benedict XVI, as a pilgrim on the road to Fatima in May 2010, explained the Third Secret: “Consequently, I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, […] an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. […]
As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church”.
So, during this time, she experiences in everything the passion of Jesus and the abysmal iniquity of the betrayal.
Christ made the servant of the true Mercy, St. Sister Faustina, experience all the bitterness of the Church’s agony of Gethsemane. She wrote in her diary: “On that day I suffered more than at any other time, inwardly and outwardly. I did not know that one can suffer so much in a single day.” The most terrible dimension of Gethsemane is the appearance of the traitor. St. Sister Faustina noted the date of this worst day of suffering. It was December 17, 1936.
Assumptio Beatae Mariae Virginis 2020
Pastor Frank Unterhalt
 John-Henry Westen, “Two timely quotes from St. John Paul II on his feast day,” in: LifeSiteNews, October 22, 2014; The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1978.
 Fulton J. Sheen, Der Kommunismus und das Gewissen der westlichen Welt [Engl. title: Communism and the Conscience of the West], Berlin 1950, p. 12. [translated from German]
 Stimme des Glaubens [Voice of the Faith], October 1981.
 Cf. Augustine, Epistulae 53,2.
 Maria Winowska, Pater Maximilian Kolbe. Ein Leben im Dienst der Immaculata [Father Maximilian Kolbe: a Life serving the Immaculata], Freiburg/Schw. – Konstanz – München 1952, p. 41. [translated from German]
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Message of Fatima (June 26, 2000), Introduction.
 George Weigel, Der Papst der Freiheit. Johannes Paul II. Seine letzten Jahre und sein Vermächtnis [Engl. Title: The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II–The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy], Paderborn 2011, p. 14. [translated from German]
 Cf. Iben Thranholm, „Catholic abuse crisis is likely no accident, but a strategy to ‘destroy Church from within’“, in: LifeSiteNews, September 17, 2018.
 Bella V. Dodd, School of Darkness, Angelico Press reprint edition 2017, Introduction; originally published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York 1954.
 Dietrich von Hildebrand, Der verwüstete Weinberg [Engl. title: The Devastated Vineyard], Regensburg 1973, 2nd ed., p. 11. [translated from German]
 Rudolf Graber, Athanasius und die Kirche unserer Zeit [Engl. title: Athanasius and the Church of our Time], Abensberg 1987, 11th ed., p. 85. [translated from German]
 Brian W. Harrison, “Alice von Hildebrand Sheds New Light on Fatima,” Introductory commentary, in: OnePeterFive, May 12, 2016.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675.
 Cf. ibid., 677.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Interview during the flight to Portugal, May 11, 2010
 Tagebuch der Schwester Maria Faustyna Kowalska [Diary of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska], Hauteville/Schweiz 1991, 2nd ed., No. 823. [translated from German]
Translation by LifeSite’s Martin Bürger