To our readers we pose this question: can any Catholic, young or old, having seen the fruits of Vatican II, honestly say that the revolution of the past 47 years has been for the good of the Church, that “opening windows” to the modern world resulted in other than the destruction of true religion?  Surely not.  No, the best that can be said for the catastrophe is that it has prompted many of the faithful to search on their own into a state of affairs that, in retrospect, we can see had already begun to afflict the world of the 1940’s and 50’s—a time many of us may recall with a sense of nostalgia. 

Therein lies the paradox: the more we learn, the more we ponder the results, the more we realize that neither we, nor our parents, had the means of seeing then what was truly going on.  Nor do we have all the answers now, not having access to the inner secrets, or archives, of those in power, who, it seems, have not helped us, but, rather, continue to lie and dissemble in order to cover up the truth.  We can only assemble the facts as we find them—from history, from scripture, from prophecy, from current events—and conclude that something is terribly wrong, that the mass of Christians subsist in a state of cataclysmic shock, not understanding what they have lost, much less how to recover it.  Indeed, for those of us who do try to fathom the extent of the loss, the words of a weeping Mary Magdalene at Christ’s tomb on Easter morning come to mind:  “…they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid Him.” (John 20: xiii) 

If these words seem to echo our own Catholic sense of loss, and we realize that the Church is Christ’s own Mystical Body, which, according to tradition, is supposed to parallel his own Life, we can deduce how all this figures now in the grand scope of things.  We can perceive that just as Our Lord vanished from sight for awhile, so His Church—the true Church, that is—has seemed to fade from our view.  In its place we see a counterfeit, a grotesque fraud which, like an obscene pagan idol, has seduced and perverted countless souls.  Reports of the recent sex scandals only touch the surface of a much deeper problem, and serve as an excuse for the enemy to place blame where it does not belong: on the pristine Bride of Christ.  

Here we come to yet another pitfall, wherein even well-meaning Catholics, falling  into the trap, might confuse one for the other and, sensing the extent of the rot, but failing to distinguish the fraud from the true Bride, conclude that the latter Herself is sullied,  i.e. that the Church is in apostasy.  Such a belief, however, violates the doctrine of indefectibility, whereby only apostates can be in apostasy, not the Church.  No matter that the fraud, in all her purloined finery, manages to monopolize the airwaves, the press, the slick periodicals, even the so-called “Catholic” ones.  False as it is, this glossy image pervades, and a world-wide audience weaned on movies, TV and video games cannot help but succumb to the scam.  Caught up in the mass mania, millions of fans recently descended upon Rome for a funeral and a conclave—yet even the “talking heads” on TV admit that only a small percentage of these actually go to church—or, we might add, have a clue as to what is really going on. 

The fact remains that such fanfare does not represent the true Church.  This seems to be hidden from view at present. But how can this be? you wonder.  How could God allow this?  In reply we point out clues to unraveling the riddle that can be found in scripture and prophecy. After all, Christ Himself asked whether He would find faith on earth when He returned (Luke, 18, viii).  St. Paul foretold a great falling away, i.e. apostasy, which would usher in the Man of Sin, i.e. Antichrist, who would rule the world for a time (II Thessalonians 2, iii-iv) And if all this constitutes too much doom and gloom for our reader, he should be consoled by Our Lord’s promise that He would not leave us orphans.  No, He left us His own Mother, Who has in fact appeared in recent centuries to a variety of visionaries, including Saints Catherine Laboure, seeress of the Miraculous Medal, and Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes. 

The latter apparitions, and those of Fatima, of course, are well-known—there are even movies publicizing the events.  Much less familiar, however, even to older Catholics, is the Marian apparition of 1846 involving the shepherd children Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud at LaSalette in France.  While tending their herd, they saw a Heavenly Lady, bathed in light, yet weeping because, she said, her children, who took God’s name in vain and worked on Sundays, would suffer horribly if they did not repent of their sins.1  After further words, the Lady vanished, but news of her appearance spread rapidly.  Miraculous cures followed.2  The bishop intervened, and after intense scrutiny, the apparition won his official approval.3 

More controversial, though, were the ominous “secrets” told by Our Lady to the seers, who, as instructed, refused to divulge the contents for some years.  The first on record to see them in writing was Pope Pius IX, who at least tacitly approved;4 so did Leo XIII, who read the secrets in 1879.5  When the secrets were finally published in 1879 and in 1904 (with an imprimatur from an Italian bishop), however, there were some in the hierarchy of a liberal bent who did not take kindly to hearing them.  They rejected the warning that horrible chastisements were imminent, and that not only peasants were at fault, but priests and religious as well! Still worse was the news that in coming days the Church would be in eclipse, that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.6         

For defending her message, Melanie was harassed continually through the years.  By the end of 1904 she was dead, at age 72.  In 1915 her detractors inside the Vatican managed to publish a decree forbidding further commentaries on the prophecies.  But the actual texts of these escaped censure (as did devotion to Our Lady of LaSalette).  Even the most scrupulous may read them with a clear conscience.7  And “forbidden” commentaries aside, we moderns, armed with some basic facts of iconography, astronomy, and history, can pretty much figure it out for ourselves.  

Traditionally the sun has symbolized Christ and His Church, as well as the pope.  A solar eclipse, of course, does not indicate the sun no longer exists; it is simply obscured.  Similarly, a Church in eclipse is one that is hidden from view.  It may also signify a pope in hiding, one whose see has been usurped by an anti-pope.   Of course, if the true pope is forced to flee Rome, and an anti-pope rules there instead over a counterfeit church, that city could indeed be said to have lost the Faith. 

Shocking or not, the scenario is, in fact, consistent with Catholic prophecy as interpreted through the ages by a variety of saints and scholars, including the translators of the original Douay-Rheims Bible.  Its annotations to both II Thessalonians8 and Apocalypse 179 admit the possibility, if not likelihood, that the end-times Antichrist, usurping the papal See, will drive the true pope from Rome.  Unfortunately, however, few Catholics have had access to this version of the Bible, because during penal times in England it was outlawed.10  Even in the 19th century the Protestant authorities considered its original annotations too “acrimonious”11 and “objectionable”12 to be reprinted, and, anxious to win, and keep, the limited rights of Catholic “emancipation,” the English and Irish bishops complied.  

In other words, this Bible was, ironically, suppressed by a coalition of militant, bible-thumping interlopers!  

The reluctance of Catholic prelates to publicize prophecies involving Antichrist and the papacy might by explained by the nasty Protestant habit of identifying one with the other.  According to Luther, Calvin et al., the end-times Beast—or one of his ilk—will turn out to be none other than the Pope! Given this scenario, of course, the need for Catholic apologists to distinguish carefully between the true pope and usurper, or antipope, becomes paramount.  Even Cardinal Newman, darling of the literati though he was, found himself having to refute this Protestant belief, and in the process he delineated the needed distinctions quite clearly.  The “Antichrist” entry in The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes his argument, and one point in particular stands out:  

      The defenders of the Papal-Antichrist theory (says Newman)  have made several signal blunders in their arguments; they cite St. Bernard as identifying the Beast of the Apocalypse with the Pope, though St. Bernard speaks in the passage of the Antipope; they appeal to the Abbot Joachim as believing that Antichrist will be elevated to the Apostolic See, while the Abbot really believes that Antichrist will overthrow the Pope and usurp his See; finally, they appeal to Pope Gregory the Great as asserting that whoever claims to be Universal Bishop is Antichrist, whereas the great Doctor really speaks of the Forerunner of Antichrist who was, in the language of the day, nothing but a token of an impending great evil.13 

Unfortunately, such gems as this on the subject of prophecy are rare in the Catholic Encyclopedia—even in that of 1917.  More typical is its entry on “La Salette.”  This implies a distrust of “apocalyptic” literature, to which it attributes what is called Melanie’s “disturbed” frame of mind at the time she published her secret in 1879.14  The writer of the article refuses to concede that  this could  have really  come from Our Lady.  As for the sources of the apocalyptic gloom Melanie supposedly imbibed, he doesn’t specify.  He gives no names, no titles of books, no other references, thus leaving the impression that Melanie was, for her day, what some moderns might call a “lone nut.”    

But she was not. 

In a series of 1861 lectures, yet another illustrious convert from Anglicanism—and future cardinalEdward Henry Manning,  voiced  views on the latter days that could be compared to Melanie’s message!  Citing Church Fathers and Doctors, from Hippolytus to Bellarmine, Manning predicted that during a time of intense chastisement and persecution towards the end of the world, the celebration of Mass would virtually cease.  Furthermore, he said, the Fathers foretold that the Roman people, under Antichrist’s influence, would apostasize and drive away the true pope.15  

We know Manning’s words because his lectures were printed in booklet form, though only a few copies remain today, buried in university archives.   Even in his time the audience was probably limited.  The lengthy entry on him in The Catholic Encyclopedia fails to mention his comments on the last days.  Indeed, few Catholics in the English-speaking world seemed to know much at all about Catholic prophecy.  When Passionist Father Gaudentius Rossi, an Italian priest living in the United States, and writing under the pseudonym “Pellegrino”, came out with The Christian Trumpet in 1873, he called it the first full-length book on that subject ever compiled in English.16  It features a selection of prophecies, and visionaries down through the ages: St. Bridget of Sweden, Anna Maria Taigi, and St. John Vianney, for instance, and also includes two chapters on LaSalette.  Whereas his book predates the publication of the full secret, Fr. Rossi includes an abbreviated form that apparently circulated earlier; this also warns priests and laity alike to repent or suffer horrific chastisements.17  

Yet Fr. Rossi has nothing but good to say regarding Melanie, whose words he considered to be consistent with many other prophecies of the day—those of the stigmatist Palma Maria d’Oria, for example.  This visionary and Melanie, he says, communicated with each other in a “supernatural” way (as Padre Pio would at a later date), suggesting “marks of holiness” for both.18  It is interesting to note that while supposedly not as yet knowing Melanie’s words regarding the papacy, he himself mentions a “well-founded rumor” warning men like him “that an attempt will be made at the first opportunity to thrust upon St. Peter’s throne an anti-pope, in order to create a schism in the Church. . .” 19 

And this, remember, was written in the early 1870’s!    

 The year after the Vatican censored “commentaries” on the LaSalette secret, a heavenly angel appeared to three children at Fatima in Portugal.  Then in 1917, Our Lady herself appeared on a number of occasions to give them a series of apocalyptic warnings, her final visit including a miracle of the sun witnessed by many thousands.  Here, too, a secret was entrusted to the children, one that was to be revealed by the pope in 1960.  But this did not occur as Our Lady had directed.  Most of us think it never has been told to us.  Is it too much to conclude that this is because the contents might in some way incriminate those holding power in Rome? 

Does there appear to be a pattern here?      

And lest we think such prophecies as these have been pronounced only in remote climes and times, let us before closing turn to a book published in 1948 by none other than our very own Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  In it he says: 

                 He (Satan) will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God.  It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content.  It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . Then will be verified a paradox ―― the very objections with which men in the last century rejected the Church will be the reasons why they will now accept the counterchurch.20 


1 The Shepherdess of LaSalette, Apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of LaSalette (Lecce, 1879), pp. 7 – 8; See also: Abbe Guin, Sister Mary of the Cross (Billing and Sons), 1981. 

2 Msgr: John S. Kennedy, “The Lady in Tears,” in A Woman Clothed with the Sun, John J. Delaney ed. (Image Books, 1960), p. 100. 

3 Ibid. p. 109. 

4 Ibid. p. 106. 

5 Solange Hertz, “The Secret of LaSalette” (Big Rock Press) p. 2. 

6 Guin, op. cit. p. 68.  

7 Gary Giuffré, “Warnings from Heaven Suppressed” (2001), pp. 2 – 4. See this article posted on his website. 

8 II Thessalonians, 2: 3 – 4, “Annotations,” The New Testament, (English College of Rheims, 1582), p. 558.  See Gary Giuffré's article “Scripture Scholars, Ancient and Modern.” posted on his website. 

9 The Apocalypse 17: 5, “Annotations,” op. cit. p. 731.  See Gary Giuffré's article “Scripture Scholars, Ancient and Modern.” posted on his website. 

10 Bernard Ward, “William Cardinal Allen,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, (The Encyclopedia Press, 1913), p. 322. 

11 Tobias Mullen, The Canon of the Old Testament, (Pustet, 1892), p. 402. 

12 Ibid., p. 400. 

13 A. J. Maas, “Antichrist,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, (The Encyclopedia Press, 1917), p. 561. 

14 Léon Clugnet, “La Salette,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, (Encyclopedia Press, 1913), p. 8. 

15 Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, (Burns and Lambert, 1861), pp. 87 – 90. See “Scripture Scholars, Ancient and Modern” posted on this website. 

16 Pellegrino, The Christian Trumpet, (Patrick Donahoe, 1874), p. XIX. 

17 Ibid. pp. 77-81. 

18 Ibid. p. 85. 

19 Ibid. p. 142. 

20 Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West, (Bobbs-Merrill, 1948), pp. 24 – 25. 

Copyright  2005 by Judith Gordon

For articles on this topic posted on this website, including the complete text of Melanie’s published secret, with Imprimatur, please refer to the following links:

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