Wednesday, May 13th, 1981, in St. Peter's Square in Rome. As Pope John Paul II greets the thousands of faithful, a man hiding in the crowd fires at him. People are dumbfounded. Something unimaginable has just taken place: The Pope has been shot. This attack will forever remain etched in history.
But as astounding as it is, was this attack really impossible to predict? In other words, could it have been avoided? Perhaps. A Portuguese nun named Lucia had alerted the Vatican that a tragic fate would soon befall a pope. Her warning, however, was ignored until this tragic day.
For behind the attack on John Paul II lies the story of the most enigmatic secret of the 20th century. A secret all the more crucial as it had come directly, according to Catholic Christians, from the Virgin Mary herself.
In 1917, the Virgin allegedly appeared six times in the small village of Fatima, Portugal, to reveal a secret of vital importance composed of three parts, but the interpretation of which is subject to controversy. That secret was entrusted to a young shepherdess named Lucia. But in light of the prophecies shared by the Virgin, could the attack on John Paul II have been prevented? While numerous Catholics believe it could have, historians take a more nuanced view.
For over a century, this case has caused more ink to flow than any bestselling novel, as countless people have tried to clear up this elusive enigma. To this day, the Secret of the Virgin Mary and the Vatican’s attitude towards it remain shrouded in mystery.