The Secret of La Salette -The Little Apocalypse of Our Lady
The Secret of La Salette
Little Apocalypse of Our Lady
Solange Hertz

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“Well, now, my children, you will pass this along to all my people.”

With these words Mary the Mother of God concluded the famous message she came to earth on September 19, 1846 to deliver to two poor peasant children employed as cowherds on the mountain of La Salette, famous as the message is, its full contents continue unknown to the vast majority, not only in the world, but even in the Church. This leads one to wonder who “all Mary’s people” really are, for only these, it would seem, does it succeed in reaching, as our Lady said it would.

She didn’t ask the children, Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, to pass it along. She simply told then they would, and that was that. And they have. Somehow, in every generation since, little souls are found who transmit our Lady’s words faithfully and quietly, although for the most part painfully, by the most humble, nay, bumbling means, please God this may be one of them.
Outside the Gospel itself, hardly any communication from heaven has encountered such furious and determined opposition, and that not so much outside the Church, as from within, from those members who would be most expected to take the Secret to heart and preach it from the housetops. It has continued unabated, despite the fact that the apparition at La Salette enjoyed almost immediately the full approbation of the Church, with rich indulgences granted to pilgrims there, and that canonically approved miracles have taken place on the spot. Why?

“Alas,” wrote Melanie to her director Abbé Combe in 1903, “the bishops, those who considered themselves referred to in the Secret, are the enemies of this merciful Secret, just as the high priests condemned the divine Savior to death! . . . And inasmuch as the Mother of God and of all Christians by adoption at the foot of the Cross has recommended that her message in its entirety be made known to her people, what are we waiting for to obey the Virgin Mother, seeing that every day we behold the punishments announced by the Secret taking place?

“What more are we waiting for, inasmuch as Holy Church has shown herself in favor insofar as She can where revelations are concerned? Pius IX ordered the Bishop of Grenoble to build a beautiful Church on the mountain of La Salette. Leo XIII crowned the statue and gave the sanctuary the title of Basilica. What more do we need to beat our breasts, to admit that all, all of us, have sinned, all of us have provoked God’s justice, all of us have set our lips to the poisoned fount of our depraved passions, drunkenness from which plunges us into darkness? Whoever is ill-willed in regulating his life according to the law of God, according to the maxims of the Gospel, will always find reasons for doubting everything he wants to be in doubt about; the faith of these people is not a sanctifying faith. . .” (Documents Pour Servir á l’Histoire Réelle de La Salette, Nouvelles Editions Latines, Paris, 1963-66)

In our days the Secret has been largely consigned to oblivion. In the lifetime of the visionaries some confessors refused absolution to penitents who read it. Melanie and Maximin were subjected to unparalleled and totally unfounded calumny and persecution. Melanie’s own Bishop, along with many other persons, made her out as insane, or at best unstable. Maximin was reputed an alcoholic. To this day, at best, the general judgment would agree with that expressed by Fr. John Kennedy in his Light on the Mountain: “The deficiencies and idiosyncrasies of Maximin and Melanie are but gargoyles on the monumental, enduring fact of La Salette.” La Salette, yes. Maximin, Melanie and the Secret, no.

After receiving the first communication from our Lady dealing with the divine displeasure at profanations of Sunday and the Holy Name – generally propagated as the Message of La Salette and beyond the limits of this paper – both children were entrusted with a secret. Maximin’s, apparently never intended for the public, was carried to the grave with him. Melanie’s, however, was meant to be revealed in due time: and the moment she began doing so in obedience to heaven, she attracted the full brunt of hell’s fury.

Many good people when they heard it were convinced that Melanie had made it up, so sure were they our Lady would never say such terrible things about the clergy. And if it’s true, what good does it do to reveal it?

To which Mélanie replied:
Quote:“No, no, the Seat of Wisdom never spoke ill of the Ministers of the Altar! Mercifully, Mary, Patroness of France. Queen of the Catholic clergy, pointed out the diseases infecting the souls of the pastors of God’s people. Those who have forgotten prayer and penance and filled their hearts with affection for transitory things, their faith has cooled. . . Instead of rebelling, they should have entered into themselves, revived their faith, their charity, wisely regulating their conduct in accordance with the examples of Jesus, our divine Master and model,” (Letter to Fr. Combe, September 1902)

That Pius IX believed in Mélanie absolutely, indeed countering her detractors with, “Melanie is a good girl,” seemed to weigh little in her favor. Nor did the fact that he later relieved her of her religious vows, which would have kept her in the cloister where the enemies of the Secret wanted her kept, even going so far as trying to do so forcibly. She tells us,
Quote:“His holiness Pius IX relieved me of such vows as could not be kept in the world; he said that I couldn’t accomplish my mission in the cloister and he granted me privileges I would never have dared ask him.”

Badgered beyond endurance, even excommunicated by one French Bishop, Melanie eventually fled incognito to Italy, to publish the Secret there under the protection of friendly Italian prelates. Pope Leo XIII, who approved of Melanie as heartily as his predecessor, called her to Rome in 1879 to confer with her not only about the Secret, but about a rule for a religious order which our Lady had given her at the same time and wished founded immediately against the coming crisis. Specifically the Order of the Mother of God, the “Apostles of the Latter Times” predicted by St. Louis de Montfort, it was encouraged in every way by the Pope, who in fact kept Melanie in Rome six months finalizing its Constitutions, but despite several abortive attempts, it always failed to materialize. (The present religious organized under the name of La Salette do not follow this rule, nor are they in any way connected with it.) This great work is yet to come.

The ire of the French bishops, whom Melanie knew to be masonically controlled pursued her even into Italy, where she was driven from pillar to post in her attempt to remain hidden from the world. Applying heavy pressure on Rome to have the Secret put on the Index, these high ecclesiastics even threatened to withhold Peter’s Pence from the impoverished Apostolic treasury. This was never done, but to placate them Cardinal Caterini sent a letter from the Inquisition forbidding Melanie in 1880 to write about or publish anything further on the Secret.

“This unhappy letter has finished, you might say, poisoning my existence,” said poor Melanie,” and has evaporated my trembling hope that by Christianity’s return to its God the long and great scourges which our prevarications deserve might be much mitigated.” In great anguish she complied with the letter. “As for me, I want to be submissive to the Holy Church of God.” Nevertheless she conceded that if she could be certain “that the Caterini letter was unknown to the Holy Father, then I would be free to write and would write.” (Letter to A. M. Schmid, of the periodical Légitimité, July 25, 1896).

Apparently never accorded this certainty, she continued obedient. Contrary to her detractors, Melanie’s life was one of high virtue, austerity and prayer, her apparent eccentricities and “instability” due almost entirely to her fidelity to her mission and her determination to keep herself and her many extraordinary gifts (among them the stigmata) hidden from public view. On reading an account of her life in 1910, Pope St. Pius X exclaimed to the Bishop of Altamura, in whose diocese she had died and was buried, “La nostra Santa!” He suggested to the Bishop that her cause for beatification be introduced immediately.

Testimony to her holiness is plentiful if one knows where to look, but that of the Fr. Rigaux, her last director, should suffice:
“In the 48 years that I’ve been a priest, I’ve known and directed some very beautiful souls. I dare state before God, who will soon judge me, that never have I encountered a soul so humble, gentle, pure, obedient a virgin so pure, a character so strong, a victim so resigned in frightful trials, a martyr in body, bearing the stigmata from her tenderest years.”

Melanie died at the age of 72, alone and unattended, on December 14, 1904, but she left us the Secret. It’s extraordinary how many people today are still hesitant about reading it, let alone believing it, because they think it was on the Index. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although it’s true that several publications dealing with it were condemned – some of them with very good reason – the Secret itself has never suffered any official condemnation. As a matter of fact there is extant a letter from Fr. Lepidi, Master of the Sacred Palace, dated December 16, 1912 to Cardinal Luçon, stating officially, that the Secret of La Salette has never been condemned by the Index nor by the Holy Office.

Delivered orally hundreds of times by Melanie herself. It was first published under the Imprimatur of the Bishop of Naples. It appeared a second time under the Imprimatur of Salvatore Zola, Bishop of Lecce, Italy, who gave his permission after consulting with Leo XIII on the matter. This edition was reprinted ne varietur in France in 1904, a few months before Melanie died.

In the meantime the full text had been examined by the congregation of the Index, which found no change necessary. When Leo XIII read it initially, not only did he voice no objection, but he ordered a version with fuller explanations to be undertaken! The Bishops of Arras and bayonne granted further Imprimaturs in 1893, followed by many others throughout Christendom. Fr. Rigaux, writing around the turn of the century, stated that he had in his possession “28 editions of the Secret, with Imprimatur from Cardinals and Bishops.”

Nevertheless, as Mélanie wrote then,
Quote:“With Imprimatur and all the Imprimaturs, I wonder who will believe the teachings of an apparition, when almost the whole Church of God no longer believes in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Or if she does believe, it’s only with the faith of the intellect and not with the faith of the will.” (May 19, 1904)

Although never placed on the Index, the Secret suffered grievous impediments due to the cause Melanie saw so well. It must be forcibly noted here that by a decree of the Holy Office dated December 21, 1915, all the faithful are forbidden to write commentaries or interpretations of the Secret. As far as can be ascertained, this decree is still in effect and must be obeyed.

But are commentaries really necessary? As Mélanie told her director in 1903, “souls who are God’s friends can guess the Secret’s meaning without help, and the others won’t want to because it applies to them too closely.” When all is said and done, “The Secret only proposes observance of God’s law, and complains of the lack of observance of this same law, and it threatens the transgressors of this holy law with chastisements and scourges.” Pope Pius IX summed it up even more briefly: “If you don’t do penance you will perish!

If this was clear at the turn of the century. It’s even clearer now for those with eyes to see. Hardly any soul of good will needs help interpreting the Secret of La Salette today. It has become an open secret if ever there was one. In the same letter to her director just quoted Melanie explained to him exactly the sort of thing our Lady was referring to when she said,
Quote:“There are two holy places: the Church and the spouse, or if you prefer, the soul which no longer belongs to herself. In 1865 there passed like a gust of rebellion: an archbishop who poisoned a king; cardinals and others sold the great See of Catholicism, after having become fathers several times, and events of like nature, it’s a long story. But nobody knows about it you say? Haven’t we heard tell that Napoleon, Garibaldi, Gambetta and certain priests were in the habit of visiting convents from time to tine, that they were very charitable towards these nuns? And that in other countries or kingdoms the rendezvous took place in churches? And hasn’t Freemasonry been solemnly established, that is to say, recognized? But it’s useless. I’m not capable of uncovering the stratagems, the brood of crimes which only apathy and frenzy for pleasure have hidden from the eyes of those who already no longer see. We shall see: it’s not everyone who will see, but those souls nearest to the spotless light!” She concludes, “At most we can say that God is reproaching us with the same crimes which caused the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to perish by fire from heaven.”

The prohibition against her publishing anything about the Secret must have weighed on her ever more heavily as she saw public morality sink lower and lower, for apparently she had been given to understand very much more than our Lady’s words conveyed on the surface. Speaking of the apparition she says,
Quote:“Each word develops and the future action takes place within the moment, and thousands and thousands more things are seen than the ears hear…One sees plots hatching, one sees the kings of the earth, each of whom has several guardian angels; one sees them moving about, doing, undoing; one sees the jealousy of some, the ambition of others, etc., and all that in one word escaping from the lips of her who makes hell tremble.” (Letter to Fr. Bliard)

In 1897 she mourned to Fr. Combe,
Quote:“God used to speak continually to His prophets and they weren’t held to obedience to…when this was contrary to God’s will. Today one must obey or be struck with excommunication. I can only groan at the lamentable state of our loving Jesus’ representatives…”

Yet, even given permission, Mélanie would have been powerless to transmit it all. To the pious and zealous Fr. Roubaud – who had hoped in the beginning to publish a volume on the subject from her pen – she said,
Quote:“I don’t feel I have the grace to explain. The world isn’t disposed to hear it. What’s more, the little people of God don’t need to touch with the finger. Our sweet Mother Mary didn’t come for believers, but for those who don’t practice the promises made at their baptism.” She had prefaced this with the rueful comment, “It’s possible, and it’s even certain, that the Jews will re-assume their title of people of God and perhaps we shall be rejected.”

Melanie was not acquainted with the famous prophecy of St. Malachy, but in 1894 she told this good priest that among the future events she saw unrolling in the course of the apparition,
Quote:I didn’t see, I don’t see, any Great Pope or Great Monarch before an extremely great tribulation, horrifying, terrible and general for all Christendom. But before that time, twice there will be a short-lived peace two shaky, servile, doubtful popes.”

Anyone who thinks the crisis in the Church we suffer today began with the Second Vatican Council need only read Melanie’s correspondence. The following extracts from her letters to Fr. Roubaud are a fair sample:
Quote:“When the Secret has been scorned, misunderstood … held back for money, one must be surprised at nothing. The Church will endure forever, our Lord said so; but among the teaching members of the Church, what traitors, what apostates, what mercenaries, what sectarians, who bear the imprint or the sign of the beast with ten horns St. John speaks of in his vision on Patmos! But this beast similar to the Lamb, who rises out of the earth, isn’t it the figure of faithless ecclesiastics? I firmly believe so. Happy those who die in God’s grace, for those who live will see sad and terrifying things. We still haven’t reached the beginning of the end.” (January 2, 1892)

Later the same year, her words apropos of a good priest who was losing his eyesight have sadly increased in relevance today:
“Oh, how God afflicts His true servants in these times! But this affliction is a punishment for the half-Christians who have rendered themselves unworthy of hearing the word of truth, which they obstinately refuse to put into practice. When God favored us, when He was giving us all we needed, we abandoned Him; now we blaspheme Him like the damned. God was giving us His graces in manifold ways, now He deprives us of everything. He plays deaf, indifferent, as we did towards Him. We have nothing to say. And now He is taking from us the few good priests who, despite all the thunderbolts of those sold for gold, never ceased teaching us the practice of the Christi virtues and flight from sin…

Quote:“… You’d think the devil would keep quiet inasmuch as men are almost all working for him, for his triumph. Well, no, he turns himself into an angel of light, aping true apparitions, truly divine. Later he’ll show his horns, in order to destroy the true divine apparitions by his impostures. It’s noteworthy that in all these false apparition there are always many flattering words directed to certain persons, which these seers, seeing only the devil, apply to some gullible person wrapt in refined self-love. It’s also true there are visionaries without visions, who don’t even need the devil’s help, being themselves possessed.”

The rash of false signs and wonders, tongues and prophecies soliciting our attention so generally now was evidently well under way in the last century. On September 9, 1894, she writes, “
Quote:The devil is a liar, what he says mustn’t be believed because if he says something true, it’s preceded and followed by lies and wrapped In obscurity. The good Lord doesn’t permit His true worshippers to be playthings of evil spirits at their expense. Today already in the world, in families (Christian in appearance) there are supernatural-diabolic things; these are treated as illness, and bit by bit the serpent’s wonders insinuate themselves noiselessly into society – Mistrust of self, deep and true humility, supreme love of God alone can deliver these souls from the eternal abysses. It seems to me, if I’m not mistaken, that we don’t have to wait for the reign of the Antichrist to see apostates behind masks; today we have a great number, whom Satan recognizes as his own. The sentinels of the sanctuary have passed into the enemy camp!!! The divine supernatural has been scorned! We’ll be taken in the nets of the diabolic supernatural.”

Sad to say, that Melanie prophesied truly here can now be demonstrated. All the more reason, therefore, to heed the Secret. Why risk setting our sights to doubtful prophecies from lesser sources? The words of the greatest saints can never measure up to those of the Mother of God, whose motherly apocalypse could rank second only to that of our Lord himself spoken in the Gospels and through St. John on Patmos.

With this thought in mind we can proceed to a first hand reading of the authentic Secret. The accompanying part is that of the definitive 1904 edition, of which Melanie said in April of that year to Fr. Rigaux:
Quote:“The Secret is word for word that of our gentle Mother, just as I gave it to His Holiness Leo XIII in 1879.” The following October she wrote, “I protest highly against a differing text, which people may dare publish after my death, I protest once more against the very false statements of all those who dare say and write: First, that I embroidered the Secret; second, against those who state that the Queen of Wisdom did not say to transmit the Secret to all her people.”

We might note here that the Secret was given to Mélanie in French. Although she spoke only patois at the tine and learned French later, she was able to understand the message, and retained it perfectly word for word. When a gentleman asked her as a child how such a thing was possible, she answered, simply, “I don’t know. If the holy Virgin so willed it, sir, I understood.” Our translation may be rather stiff in spots, but every effort was made to hew as closely as possible to the original, inasmuch as in a communication of this kind a change in the nuance of one word can shift the interpretation.

The Secret must be allowed to speak for itself, coming to us as it does from our Lady herself. A true apocalypse, it must be read like all apocalyptic literature, which uses enigma and metaphor precisely so that only those for whom it is intended may grasp its true meaning. Let him who reads understand. Our Lady’s own people, by supernatural instinct, will know not to take its terms in their purely literal sense, any more than they would in reading the Apocalypse of St. John. For instance, they would know better than to take in a carnal sense the “Hebrew nun,” the “false virgin” who is to bear the Antichrist as a result of relations with a Bishop. Genuine apocalyptic messages deal primarily in spiritual matters. These are clothed in material imagery designed to give the clue to the meaning, but which remains secondary. Nor is there any strict chronology sometimes the same event is described in different ways.

Even so, only the light of the Holy Ghost, supported by prayer, penance and innocence of life can unlock divine mysteries for the human intellect, which no amount of purely human explanation can enlighten in such matters. This makes obeying the Decree of 1915 rather easy, for as Melanie said, commentaries are largely useless anyway.

Who will not heed Mélanie may heed St. Gregory the Great:
Quote:“… Unless the same Spirit is in the heart of the one who learns, unprofitable is the word of the teacher … Unless He is within who will teach us, the tongue of the teacher labors in vain. All alike hear the voice of the speaker, yet all do not understand alike the meaning of the words they hear. Since the word is the same, why do your hearts not understand alike, if not for the reason that, although the voice of the speaker is directed towards all, it is the Master within us who teaches us what is said, and some more than others?” (Serno 30 In Evangelia)

We can do no better than to introduce the Secret with the same words Melanie used before setting down her recital of the marvelous happening at La Salette:
Quote:“I obey the most holy Virgin Mother of God and Mother of all believers. I submit this publication to the judgment of the Holy Apostolic See, and I declare condemned in advance all found therein contrary to Catholic doctrine:”

Melanie, what I am about to tell you now will not always be a secret. You may make it public in 1858.

The priests, ministers of My Son, the priests, by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, the priests have become cesspools of impurity. Yes, the priests are asking vengeance, and vengeance is hanging over their heads. Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who, by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives, are crucifying My Son again! The sins of those dedicated to God cry out towards Heaven and call for vengeance, and now vengeance is at their door, for there is no one left to beg mercy and forgiveness for the people. There are no more generous souls, there is no one left worthy of offering a spotless sacrifice to the Eternal for the sake of the world.

God will strike in an unprecedented way.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His wrath upon them, and no one will be able to escape so many afflictions together.

The chiefs, the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence. They have become wandering stars which the old devil will drag along with his tail to make them perish. God will allow the old serpent to cause divisions among those who reign in every society and in every family. Physical and moral agonies will be suffered. God will abandon mankind to itself and will send punishments which will follow one after the other for more than thirty-five years.

The Society of men is on the eve of the most terrible scourges and of gravest events. Mankind must expect to be ruled with an iron rod and to drink from the chalice of the wrath of God.

May the Vicar of My Son, Pope Pius IX never leave Rome again after 1859; may he, however, be steadfast and noble, may he fight with the weapons of faith and love. I will be at his side. May he be on his guard against Napoleon: he is two-faced, and when he wishes to make himself Pope as well as Emperor, God will soon draw back from him. He is the mastermind who, always wanting to ascend further, will fall on the sword he wished to use to force his people to be raised up.

Italy will be punished for her ambition in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of lords. And so she will be left to fight a war; blood will flow on all sides. Churches will be locked up or desecrated. Priests and religious orders will be hunted down, and made to die a cruel death. Several will abandon the faith, and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion; among these people there will even be bishops.

May the Pope guard against the performers of miracles. For the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air.

In the year 1864, Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls.

Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening of all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over Nature: there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. On occasions, the dead and the righteous will be brought back to life. (That is to say that these dead will take on the form of righteous souls which had lived on earth, in order to lead men further astray; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing but the devil in this form, will preach another Gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of Heaven; that is also to say, the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if fixed to their bodies).

Everywhere there will be extraordinary wonders, as true faith has faded and false light brightens the people. Woe to the Princes of the Church who think only of piling riches upon riches to protect their authority and dominate with pride.

The Vicar of My Son will suffer a great deal, because for awhile the Church will yield to large persecution, a time of darkness; and the Church will witness a frightful crisis.

The true faith to the Lord having been forgotten, each individual will want to be on his own and be superior to people of same identity, they will abolish civil rights as well as ecclesiastical, all order and all justice would be trampled underfoot and only homicides, hate, jealousy, lies and dissension would be seen, without love for country or family.

The Holy Father will suffer a great deal. I will be with him until the end and receive his sacrifice.

The mischievous would attempt his life several times to do harm and shorten his days but neither him nor his successor will see the triumph of the Church of God.

All the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism and vice of all kinds.

In the year 1865, there will be desecration of holy places. In convents, the flowers of the Church will decompose and the devil will make himself like the King of all hearts. May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all his evil tricks to introduce sinners into religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread all over the earth.

France, Italy, Spain, and England will be at war. Blood will flow in the streets. Frenchman will fight Frenchman, Italian will fight Italian. A general war will follow which will be appalling. For a time, God will cease to remember France and Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten. The wicked will make use of all their evil ways. Men will kill each other, massacre each other even in their homes.

At the first blow of His thundering sword, the mountains and all Nature will tremble in terror, for the disorders and crimes of men have pierced the vault of the heavens. Paris will burn and Marseilles will be engulfed. Several cities will be shaken down and swallowed up by earthquakes. People will believe that all is lost. Nothing will be seen but murder, nothing will be heard but the clash of arms and blasphemy.

The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for My help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy will command His Angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of the holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious in Its poor but fervent imitation of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere and mankind will make great progress in its faith, for there will be unity among the workers of Jesus Christ and man will live in fear of God.

This peace among men will be short-lived. Twenty-five years of plentiful harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the troubles on this earth.

A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Saviour of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God.

The earth will be struck by calamities of all kinds (in addition to plague and famine which will be widespread). There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten Kings of the Antichrist, all of whom will have one and the same plan and will be the only rulers of the world. Before this comes to pass, there will be a kind of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin. But the children of the holy Church, the children of My faith, My true followers, they will grow in their love for God and in all the virtues most precious to Me. Blessed are the souls humbly guided by the Holy Spirit! I shall fight at their side until they reach a fullness of years.

Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime. Tremble, earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves, tremble, for God will hand you over to His enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption. Many convents are no longer houses of God, but the grazing-grounds of Asmodeas and his like. It will be during this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity, his father will be B. At birth, he will spew out blasphemy; he will have teeth, in a word, he will be the devil incarnate. He will scream horribly, he will perform wonders, he will feed on nothing but impurity. He will have brothers who, although not devils incarnate like him, will be children of evil. At the age of twelve, they will draw attention upon themselves by the gallant victories they will have won; soon they will each lead armies, aided by the legions of hell.

The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth’s globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities, etc.

Rome will lose faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.

The demons of the air, together with the Antichrist, will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth.

I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Saviour of men; I call on My children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to Me so that I may lead them to My divine Son, those whom I carry in My arms, so to speak, those who have lived on My spirit. Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be My cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.

The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the Spirit of God. They will preach with the might of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the power of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, and on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? At the blood, the tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be led astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive.

Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the King of kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for all eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men’s pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified.”

[Emphasis mine.]

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Will Rome Lose the Faith? (La Salette Revisited)
Written by By Solange Strong Hertz

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Melanie’s Secret: Secret which the Blessed Virgin gave me on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846

Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:
Quote:The time of the God's wrath has arrived! If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon. My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time. The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ. A famine will reign at the same time. After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.

[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible. Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him! That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.

My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it! I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.

Mélanie, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851

The message of LaSalette was confided by the Mother of God to Mélanie Calvat, the oldest of two young seers to whom she appeared in the French Alps in 1846. Attempts to discredit both the visionary and the heavenly message have never been wanting, for although the apparition was approved by the Holy See, the Secret itself was never promoted by the ecclesiastical establishment, despite papal recommendations and many Imprimaturs. In fact the faithful were led to believe that it had actually been placed on the Index of Forbidden Books then in canonical vigor. Mélanie was accused of being psychologically unbalanced by her Bishop, who eventually was the one to go mad and never recover his sanity. She was persecuted to such a degree in her own country that for long periods she was forced to live incognito in Italy, where she died at the age of seventy-two.

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Today the same old accusations which were leveled against her in her lifetime, which she continued to refute to her dying day, are resurging, not only from liberal sectors as before, but even from conservative champions of the traditional Mass. Her critics maintain that the text of the Secret with which we are familiar and which Mélanie first published in its entirety in 1879 under the Imprimatur of Bishop Salvatore-Luigi Zola of Lecce, Italy was her own expanded and embroidered version of our Lady’s real message, which Pius IX had requested her to submit to him in 1851. Emphasizing the difference in length between the two versions of the Secret, the short one set down in 1851 for the Pope and the longer one delivered to the public in 1879, some hold that Mélanie added to the original text information culled from contemporary apocalyptic literature then in circulation. Mélanie’s autobiographical writings, particularly those dealing with her abused childhood and her miraculous companionship with the child Jesus, are rejected as spurious by many.

At this juncture, when so much of what our Lady prophesied in the Secret is beginning to materialize, the enemy of mankind can be expected to utilize every means of discrediting a prophecy intended to lay open his machinations before the eyes of the faithful. Whereas the arguments which proved so effective in casting doubt on the Secret’s authenticity when it was first divulged are being refurbished with a vengeance, the hard facts which demolished them then have only been reinforced by subsequent events. Most of them can be found as good as new in a 40-page brochure in defense of the Secret which was published in French in 1922, bearing the Imprimatur, dated June 6 of that year, of no less an authority than the Dominican Fr. Albert Lepidi, then Master of the Sacred Palace and Permanent Consultor to the Congregation of the Index.

Disseminated by the St. Augustine Society under the title “The Apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette,” it bears a facsimile of the Imprimatur with Fr. Lepidi’s signature, plus the following words in his own hand: Ces pages ont été écrites pour la pure vérité, “These pages have been written solely in the interests of truth.” The first half of the brochure contains Mélanie’s own account of the apparition, together with the full text of the Secret, which she set in writing in Castellamare, Italy on the feast of our Lady’s Presentation, November 21, 1878 and which received an Imprimatur the following year from the local Ordinary, Bishop Zola. The second half is devoted to contemporary testimonials in defense of the Secret, the whole closing with an ecclesiastically approved Prayer to the Most Blessed Trinity for the canonization of Mélanie Calvat.

Seven letters from Bishop Zola to various dignitaries figure among the contents. Privileged to authorize the first publication of the Secret in its entirety with his Imprimatur, he never wavered in his convictions concerning La Salette, nor in his veneration for its messenger. Not only have his letters lost nothing of their force with passing time, but hindsight considerably sharpens their focus. A sampling of the longest and most informative one are offered here in translation. The Bishop wrote it May 24, 1880 in reply to questions addressed to him by Fr. Isidore Roubaud, one of the few French priests who dared undertake Mélanie’s defense in the face of the dogged opposition mounted by Masonically influenced bishops like Mgr. Ginoulhiac of Grenoble, successor to the saintly Mgr. Bruillard, in whose diocese the apparition had taken place and had been originally approved.

Bishop Zola writes,
Quote:“I deeply deplore France’s current opposition to the heavenly Message of La Salette. We are already on the eve of the terrible chastisements with which the Mother of God threatened us because of our prevarications, and yet we prefer to reject the warnings of so tender and merciful a Mother rather than profit from her lessons, the only act on our part which could diminish the intensity of the afflictions divine wrath has in store for us. In this I recognize the work of our ancient enemy, who has the greatest interest in exploiting every means, especially among God’s ministers, ut videntes non videant et intelligentes non intelligant....

“Only on July 3, 1851 did Melanie herself put her Secret in writing for the first time, at the Providence convent in Corenc, by order of Mgr. de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, in the presence of Mr. Dausse, head of the Department of Civil Engineering, and Mr. Taxis, Canon of Grenoble Cathedral. Mélanie filled three large pages at one sitting, without saying anything or asking any questions.” [In the account of the incident given by Bishop William Ullathorne of Birmingham, England in The Holy Mountain of La Salette in 1854, Mélanie asked the meaning of the words infallibly and Antichrist, and how to spell the latter, but there are no other discrepancies.] “She signed without re-reading, folded her Secret and put it in an envelope. She addressed it thus: ‘To His Holiness Pius IX, in Rome.’

“The next day, the fourth of July, the Secret is personally rewritten by Mélanie at the Bishop’s palace in Grenoble, with the purpose of drawing a clear distinction between the dates of two events which are not supposed to happen at the same time. Having put in only one date the first time, Mélanie was afraid that the Pope might not understand correctly on that account, and some equivocation might result. On July 18, Mr. Gérin, Curate of the Cathedral of Grenoble, and Mr. Rousselot, Honorary Vicar General, both saintly priests advanced in years and highly respected in every regard, delivered to His Holiness Pius IX the letters of the Bishop of Grenoble and those of Maximin [the other little seer] and Mélanie, containing their Secrets.

“Melanie did not send His Holiness Pius IX all of the Secret which she recently published, but only what the Blessed Virgin had inspired her to write at the time from that important document, along with many things relevant to Pius IX personally. Nevertheless, on the basis of information which I guarantee you is very accurate I know that the reproaches addressed to the clergy and religious communities were identical to those contained in that part of the Secret given to His Holiness Pius IX. Later the blessed shepherdess of La Salette imparted other parts of the Secret to different people when she felt the proper time had arrived to disclose them. But the Secret in its entirety was made public only in the little work written by Mélanie herself and printed at Lecce in 1879 at the request and expense of a pious person.

“In 1860 one of Mélanie’s directors obtained a manuscript of the Secret at Marseille. It was transmitted to me in 1869, when by order of Mgr. Petagna, Bishop of Castellamare di Stabia, I was Mélanie’s spiritual director. On January 30 Mélanie put this same document into the hands of the Abbé Felician Bliard, with a declaration of its authenticity and her signature, but with certain small blank spaces, indicated by dots and etc...., to replace those parts of the Secret which she felt she should not reveal yet. The part about priests and religious, almost in its entirety, was there in its proper place. The Abbé Bliard sent a certified copy from Nice on February 24, 1870 to Fr. Semennenko, Consultor of the Index at Rome and Superior of the Polish seminary. He did the same for several Church dignitaries. Nevertheless the Secret of the shepherdess of La Salette had already been spread everywhere in manuscript form, especially among religious communities and the clergy.

“In 1873 Fr. Bliard published the document just as he had received it from Mélanie in 1870, with his own scholarly comments, in a brochure called ‘Letters to a Friend about the Secret of the Shepherdess of La Salette’. This brochure appeared in Naples with the approbation given on April 30, 1873 by the curia of His Eminence Cardinal Sixtus Riario Sforza, Archbishop of Naples. I myself can certify the authenticity of this approbation, as well as the authenticity of the letter which I sent to Abbé Bliard dated May 1, 1873, a letter which was printed on the first page of the said brochure after my promotion to the See of Ugento.

“On receiving Mélanie’s Secret from Mr. Bliard, Mr. C.R. Girard, the learned director of La Terre Sainte in Grenoble, published it early in 1872 in his book called The Secrets of La Salette and Their Import. This brochure was only the first of five very important little works which appeared later by the same author and were intended to vindicate and confirm the revelations of La Salette, as well as to defend them against the attacks of their enemies. These works by Mr. Girard were honored by the endorsement and blessing of His Holiness Pius IX and the support of many Catholic theologians and bishops. . . .

“I will also say that during my many years as Abbot of the Canons Regular of the Lateran at Santa Maria di Piedigrotta in Naples, I had occasion in my capacity as Superior of that Order to maintain relations with very respected prelates and princes of the Roman Church. They were rather well informed in regard to Mélanie and her Secret. Almost all had received that document. Well then! Every one of them without exception judged very favorably of that divine revelation and the authenticity of the Secret. I shall confine myself to mentioning among others: Mgr. Petagna, Bishop of Castellamare di Stabia, who had the good shepherdess of La Salette under his guardianship for several years; Mgr. Mariano Ricciardi, Archbishop of Sorrento; His Eminence Cardinal Guidi; His Eminence Cardinal Sixtus Riario Sforza, Archbishop of Naples. . . . These revered and saintly Pastors always spoke to me in such wise as to confirm me strongly in my belief, now become unshakeable, in the divinity of the revelations contained in the Secret of the shepherdess of La Salette. Furthermore I have it from an incontrovertible source, that our Holy Father Leo XIII also received that document in its entirety.

I am mindful, Reverend Sir, that the Secret contains some very harsh truths where the clergy and religious communities are concerned. Such revelations are approached with sinking hearts and fearful souls. If I dared I would ask our Lady why she didn’t order them buried in eternal silence. But who are we to question her who is called the Seat of Wisdom? Our task is to draw profit from her lessons.

The good Bishop goes on to point out that there is considerable precedent both in Scripture and hagiography for rebuking the clergy in public, citing the Psalms, the Prophets, the Fathers of the Church and other sacred authors, not to mention revelations made to saints from St. Catherine of Siena on down to Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi. Nonetheless he warns that prophecy makes use of a language all its own, not meant to inspire contempt of those we are bound to respect. Reproofs aimed at the clergy in general must not be taken as addressed to all without exception, for “in the bosom of the Church there are always pastors and ministers outstanding for their learning and holiness,” besides the fact that
Quote:“the divine Mother’s range of vision takes in the entire universe, and her chaste eye is offended by many things we can neither know nor even suspect. . .

“As for the Secret printed in Lecce, I assure you that it is identical to the one given to me by Mélanie in 1869. In the latter she simply filled in those small omissions and reservations which, when all is said and done, hardly added or subtracted anything from the substance of the document. I had my episcopal commission examine it according to the rules of the Church; and having found no reason to oppose the publication of the Secret, my Vicar General accorded his permission to print in the terms ‘NIHIL OBSTAT, IMPRIMATUR,’ to the person who desired to publish it at his own expense in accordance with his pious intentions. This approval as it appears at the end of the brochure was in fact given on November 15, 1879. The brochure was truly and entirely written by Mélanie Calvat, shepherdess of La Salette, whose surname was Matthieu. It is impossible to cast any doubts on the authenticity of this brochure.

“Here now is what concerns Mélanie personally: This pious girl, this virtuous and privileged soul whom wicked people have tried to vilify by making her the butt of their detestably gross calumnies and proud disdain, I can attest before God is in no way deceitful, crazy, deluded, prideful or motivated by self interest. On the contrary, I had occasion to admire the virtues of her soul, as well as the qualities of her mind throughout the period of time I had her under my spiritual direction, that is to say from 1868 to 1873. After that, being no longer able to undertake her direction as a consequence of my promotion to the see of Ugento as Superior of the Canons Regular, I still continued to keep in contact with her by correspondence. To this day I can affirm that her edifying life, her virtues, her writings have deeply impressed on my heart the sentiments of respect and admiration which in all justice I must entertain in her regard.

“In 1879 our Holy Father Leo XIII deigned to honor Mélanie with a private audience and also charged her with compiling the rules for the new Order recommended and requested by Our Lady of La Salette under the title of the Apostles of the Latter Days. In order to complete a draft of this kind, the ex-shepherdess stayed in Rome for five months at the convent of the Salesian Sisters. During this time she became better known and more highly esteemed, especially by these good nuns, who furnished favorable reports very much to the credit of the blessed shepherdess of La Salette.

“I know from my own sources of information that when Mr. Nicolas, a lawyer from Marseille was in Rome on Holy Saturday 1880, he was commissioned by His Holiness Leo XIII to put out a brochure explaining the Secret in its entirety, so that the public might understand it properly. I feel sure these particulars will suffice to strengthen you in your conviction. I could tell you very much more, but,” concludes the Bishop of Lecce, “that would require a book, not a letter.”

+ + +

The same year that Bishop Zola wrote to Fr. Roubaud, Mgr. Cortet, Bishop of Troyes, was making every effort to have the Secret put on the Index on the pretext that it “was causing trouble in France.” When his request continued to meet with refusal on the part of the Holy Office, he threatened its Secretary, Cardinal Caterini, with the withdrawal of Peter’s Pence “if something was not done in his favor.” Under duress the Cardinal ended by writing him a letter dated August 8, 1880, in which he stated that the work in question had been remitted to the Inquisitors, who found it proper to reply that “it was not pleasing to the Holy See that the said work be delivered to the public,” and expressed the desire that “wherever copies have been distributed, they be removed, insofar as possible, from the hands of the faithful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” (sic)

When the authentic Latin text of the letter was published seventeen years later in Ami du Clergé, the last sentence terminated in an extended series of dots as above, testifying to a number of missing words. Eventually Fr. Roubaud learned that the dots stood for a phrase laying down the condition--“if as the Bishop affirms, the Secret was causing trouble in France.” This qualification had been expurgated wholesale, along with the rest of the sentence, which instructed the authorities to “leave it in the hands of the clergy, so they may profit by it.”

Bishop Cortet had been so disappointed on receiving this communication that rather than publish it in his diocese, he sent it to his friend Bishop Besson of Nîmes, who put out an adulterated version. Not only were the extenuating words left out of the prohibition but gratuitous additions were made to the effect that the Inquisitors “deem worthy of the highest praise the zeal you have shown in denouncing this work to them,” and “that the Holy See has regarded its publication with the greatest displeasure.” Removing the copies from circulation was furthermore reported to be the “express wish” of the Holy See.

Needless to say, this letter brought the dissemination of the Secret to a standstill in France as far as the establishment was concerned. From Italy Mélanie would write Fr. Roubaud, “Don’t worry about what the devil does by means of men; the good Lord permits it to strengthen the faith of the true believers. One of the persons I addressed in Rome belongs to the Congregation of the Index and the other to that of the Holy Office, or the Inquisition, which is the same thing. Neither one nor the other knew anything about Cardinal Caterini’s letter. That’s why they said it was a party acting independently of the Pope and even of the Congregations of the Index and the Inquisition.”

According to the brochure, “The two people Mélanie refers to are Cardinals, one of whom was Cardinal Ferrieri. Mgr. Pennachi, Consultor to the Index, on being questioned by Mélanie, told her the same thing as the two Cardinals. It is clear from Mélanie’s letter that Cardinal Caterini, by an ordinary private letter, had falsely implicated his colleagues in the Holy Office, and even the Holy See; for which the Cardinal’s secretary, who had drafted it, apologized to Mgr. Zola, adding that his hand had been forced.” Because poor Mélanie was unable to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the letter had indeed been sent without the Pope’s knowledge, she believed herself bound to comply with its strictures to the end of her life. Privately she admitted that the letter had “poisoned her existence” by making it impossible for her to fulfill the mission confided to her by our Lady, at least in France.

+ + +

After Melanie’s death in 1904 the enemies of La Salette hoped to deal the final blow to the Secret. Putting the capstone on the falsehoods and misrepresentations already in circulation, a decree was promulgated on December 21, 1915 which ordered “the faithful of all countries to abstain from treating or discussing this said question under whatsoever pretext or form, either in books, pamphlets or articles signed or anonymous, or in any other way.” Although the action is duly recorded in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis for December 31 of that year, certain irregularities were soon noted in its regard.

To begin with, it carries signatures of no Cardinals or members of the Sacred Congregation, but only that of its notary, Luigi Castellano. There is moreover no mention of the date on which the Holy Office presumably met to vote this piece of legislation, nor any reference to its ever having been submitted to Pope Benedict XV for final approval. Although the decree forbids all discussion of the Secret and specifies penalties to be imposed on transgressors, no censure whatever is attached to the work itself, as would be expected in the circumstances. There is not even a prohibition against possessing, reading or distributing it!

In other words the alleged “decree” which has been brandished like a club over the heads of the faithful for over eighty years to prevent their hearing a message addressed “to all our Lady’s people,” has apparently never enjoyed the force of law. The faithful both lay and clerical are now, and have always been perfectly free, without exception, to avail themselves of the high ecclesiastical authorizations which were originally granted to the Secret by the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Sforza and Bishop Zola of Lecce, not to mention those of Cardinal Ferrieri and Cardinal Guidi. So what were they waiting for?

Not only had Pope Leo XIII accepted the account of the apparition and the Secret, delivered to him personally by Mélanie on two separate occasions, but as Bishop Zola pointed out, in 1880 this same Pontiff had charged the attorney Nicolas of Marseille “to draft a brochure explaining the whole Secret so that the general public could understand it properly.” When his brochure, which has provided so much of the substance of these lines, was reprinted under Fr. Lepidi’s Imprimatur in 1922 after years of oblivion, the adversaries of La Salette were bound to react, inasmuch as any clear exposition of the facts relating to the unjust suppression of the Secret could not fail to renew public interest in it.

An unfortunate incident played into their hands when an ill-advised partisan of the Secret, a certain Dr. Grémillon of Montpellier, took it upon himself to distribute a thousand copies of the brochure to all ranks of the clergy. Under cover of the brochure’s Imprimatur and using a pseudonym, he appended to its legitimate contents an injurious twelve-page letter dated February 2, 1923 in which, among other things, he labeled the priesthood as a whole as “sewers,” taxed St. Thomas Aquinas with “obscurantism” and wound up by declaring that the Pope should impose the Secret of La Salette on the faithful as an article of faith. The copies were expedited in wrappers proclaiming, “Big News! A voice from heaven! A message from the Blessed Virgin is declared authentic by the Vatican. A bludgeon blow to the clergy. See a letter at the end from Dr. Henry Mariavé to the Abbé Z., dean of a parish in Montpellier.”

Reaction on the part of the Holy Office was swift. On May 10, 1923 a decree was issued “proscribing and condemning” the entire brochure, designated by the title “The Apparition of the Most Holy Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette on Saturday, September 19, 1845.” That the apparition took place in 1846 and not in 1845 would alone serve to invalidate the decree, besides the fact that for over 43 years Mélanie’s account of the happening had incurred no condemnation whatsoever from any authorized quarter. To make matters worse, the Holy Office took its fateful action in a session held on the previous day, when Fr. Lepidi was ill and unable to make an appearance, either to defend the Imprimatur he had accorded the original publication or to repudiate the unauthorized letter which had been attached to it.

Could the brochure have suffered condemnation without Dr. Grémillon’s outrageous letter? Ultimately the responsibility lay with the reigning Pope, who was then Pius XI. As it was, he was placed in the uncomfortable position of apparently proscribing what three predecessors, Pius IX, Leo XIII and St. Pius X, had actively promoted, and what, in the case of the brochure itself, one of them had actually mandated. As the years rolled on, the wistful conclusion reached at the time by many of the bewildered faithful is being heard with increasing frequency as time goes on: “The Holy Father is a prisoner in the Vatican, at the mercy of his entourage for his information!” Be that as it may, the Secret of La Salette finally broke free of all restrictions when Paul VI abolished the Index of Forbidden Books in 1966. By then, of course, the Church had already entered the “frightful crisis” foretold by the Secret, and there was no turning back the events which began unrolling.

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[Emphasis mine.]

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
A reminder...
A reminder ....

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