Until the Church makes a public and definitive declaration on Garabandal, let us work on our conversion peacefully and with a heart full of gratitude toward Our Blessed Mother who loves us and so eagerly seeks our salvation.

The Three Popes and the End of Times in Garabandal 

 Published: Saturday, 09 November 2019 11:59  



The Three Popes and the End of Times in Garabandal

One of the topics that has set people talking about Garabandal is the so-called prophecy of the three popes, linked to the proclamation of an imminent end of time. It is such a delicate topic that it can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Therefore, we are going to reflect using the information we have, taking care not to interpret what is not up to us to decide but rather up to the Church.

It was June 3, 1963. The news of Pope John XXIII’s death had just reached Garabandal and Conchita made her way to the church with her mother to pray for the Pontiff’s eternal repose. On their way, Conchita hears the unmistakable voice of Our Blessed Mother in her saying, “After this pope, there are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of times.” Soon after, the Virgin Mary specifies that even though she says that only three are left, there will be another that will “govern the Church for a very short time,” which is why She does not include him on the list. There are witnesses that affirm hearing Conchita make this clarification during that very month: June 1963. This means that, in one sentence Our Blessed Mother prophesied two things:

1. There are only three popes left. Then it will be the end of times.
2. To assure us that her first affirmation is true, Our Blessed Mother provides a sign: there will actually be one more pope, but his pontificate will be so brief that I do not count him.

We all know who that pope is whose pontificate was so ephemeral that it did not come to be a great influence on the Church’s destiny: John Paul I, pope from August 26, 1978 until his death on September 28, 1978. Pope Luciani’s 33 day-long pontificate corresponded perfectly to this exceptional prediction, impossible to predict in 1963. The three popes from Our Lady’s prophecy are therefore Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. After Pope Francis’ arrival, the start of the “end of times” will have begun.

But what does this really mean? I insist on the fact that we must be very prudent and humble when we try to explain it, like Sister Lucia at Fatima when the Third Secret of Fatima was published in 2000. Fr. José Luis Saavedra explains that, before the Holy See published an interpretation carried out by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, “he [Sodano] showed it to Sister Lucia in order to know her opinion and find out if she shared the same interpretation. Sister Lucia,” explains Cardinal Ratzinger, “responded that ‘the vision was given to her, not its interpretation. The interpretation is not determined by the visionary but by the Church.’”

A visionary cannot risk interpreting the message received. His or her duty is to pass them to the Church to be studied and interpreted legitimately. In Garabandal, this is also why Conchita left the judgment of the matter completely in the Church’s hands. We ought to do the same thing and not risk thinking up our own interpretation that might harm our faith or that of others. The comprehension of a message coming from a private revelation normally needs several years to develop. Sometimes it even needs time to see the foretold events fulfilled. But prophecy in the history of salvation cannot be confused with divination, because it is not a mere foretelling future events but a call to conversion. Prophecy reveals God’s will for the present rather than for the future. It is a call to convert today, without waiting for the prophesied events, whose mission is solely a sign and confirmation of God’s intervention in history.

Our Blessed Mother’s words are, “After this pope, there are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of times.” The adverb “then,” as Fr. José Luis Saavedra rightly points out in his book Garabandal: Message of Hope, does not mean “immediately.” Nor does “the end of times” mean “the end of the world,” as Conchita has repeated on several occasions. “There are only three left” does not mean that there will be no more popes, or that the Church or human race will disappear. We have to get all those heavy black clouds out of our head and imagination. “There are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of time” simply means that there will only be three popes before this mysterious “end of times” begins. Then there will continue to be popes and the Church and the world will continue to exist. We will have, however, entered into a new period in the Church’s history.

Our Blessed Mother did not say more than what She said in Garabandal and we cannot venture to add another word. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that we are living a very transcendent moment in the history of the Church. As I write these lines—July 2019—I am reading a commentary by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of German Bishops’ Conference, in which he declares that we are not in an epoch of change but “in a change of epoch.” He comes to affirm: “Whoever does not see it must adapt his or her intellect.”Surely, Cardinal Marx did not intend it, but his observation is very similar to that proclamation of the “end of times.” This end times of goes hand in hand with a great test for and purification in the Church. This is not interpreting; it is evidence that we confirm daily. The Church is currently being greatly tested, persecuted and purified. But this does not mean that the Church is coming to an end, quite the opposite, if we are faithful and respond to Our Blessed Mother’s calls this entire situation will end in a providential moment of grace.

In fact, Fr. José Luis Saavedra puts the announcement of the “end of times” with Fatima’s luminous prophecy: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” “Finally” is an adverb used to express emphatically the end of a pending situation. In the present case, it seems to indicate the conclusion of a period of difficulty preceding the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s triumph. For Santiago Lanús—expert in modern Marian apparitions—“the end of times,” which would begin with Garabandal’s Warning, “will last until the triumph of the Immaculate Heart announced in Fatima.” That “end of times” will be marked by a sorrowful period of interior trials and exterior persecution, in which the Church, like the girls announced in Garabandal, will look as if it is at the point of disappearing. We are already suffering some of this time of trial, but we do not give in to the evil temptation to despair or go down the path of morbidity because all the events we speak of come from the depths of the Lord’s merciful Heart. We should not fear future events but place ourselves trustfully in Our Heavenly Mother’s hands. Everything is thought out carefully for our own good and to lead us to a deep conversion.

Still, I insist that Church authority must interpret announcements like the ones in Garabandal. These demand, for their part, a particular prudence and study. Until the Church makes a public and definitive declaration on Garabandal, let us work on our conversion peacefully and with a heart full of gratitude toward Our Blessed Mother who loves us and so eagerly seeks our salvation.

Source: SAAVEDRA, J.L., Garabandal: Message of Hope. Santander, 2015.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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8 Responses to Until the Church makes a public and definitive declaration on Garabandal, let us work on our conversion peacefully and with a heart full of gratitude toward Our Blessed Mother who loves us and so eagerly seeks our salvation.

  1. Maureen Avila says:

    Reply to Kate:
    I also saw videos of the visionaries on the Youtube, several years ago. They were walking backward and then kneeling and bending backward to receive a host which had materialized in the air and landed on their tongue. This struck me as creepy and most probably demonic.

  2. Ed Kelly says:

    I like to see sources, especially for items as important as this. For what Conchita said when hearing of the death of John XXIII, I use Fr. Pesquera’s Se Fue Con Prisas a La Montaῆa pp. 491ff. (1979 one volume). Fr. Pesquera says nothing about Conchita hearing the voice of the Virgen on the way to the church with her mother. He relates that Conchita first revealed the prophesy of three more popes to her Aunt Maximina on December 20, 1962. Yes, there are other sources besides Pesquera but it is difficult to compare the source Saavedra uses without knowing his source.
    Pesquera has Conchita in the kitchen responding to her mother on hearing the bells indicating the death of Juan XXIII. She says, “Pues, yo[sic] no quedan más que tres. (Well, now only three remain.)” . . .
    Aniceta reacciona con lógica: “Then that means that the end of the world will come?”
    “The Virgin didn’t tell me ‘the end of the world’ but ‘the end times.’”
    “Isn’t that the same?”
    “I don’t know.”

    Pesquera continues relating that Conchita walking towards the church with Dr. Ortiz’ wife, Conchita’s aunt Maximina and another woman for the pope’s funeral says, “Despues de este Papa (Juan XXIII) ya solo quedan tres; y despues, el fin de los tiempos.” (After this Pope (John XXIII) only three remain; and afterwards, the end times.) My dictionary gives the translation of “despues” in this order: after, afterwards, later, next. Pesquera says that Conchita related what the Virgin had told her to Padre Lucio Rodrigo and on October 1966 she told Mother Nieves in the school in Burgos, “One day I said to the Virgin, ‘will the end of the world come during the time of these happenings?’ and she said: ‘No, the end times. . .”

    I consider “the end times” a better translation of Conchita’s “fin de los tiempos” than the translation in this article – “the end of Times.” (I think that “the end of the times.” that I have seen in some Garabandal publications is worse.) 1) The former makes it clear that Conchita and the Blessed Virgin were talking about the beginning of an era. Neither of these other two translations do that. On the contrary “The End of Times” and “The End of the times” can easily lead readers to infer that Conchita meant the end of an era. 2) “The end times” is a familiar expression; the other two are not, or at least not to me or to those whom I have consulted. It seems illogical that the Virgin would tell Conchita something about which nobody is familiar, or at least do so without some explanation. 3) The translation that I use prevents people being scandalized by there being more than three popes after Juan XXII.
    Conchita said that the Virgin had not said “the end of the world” and said nothing about the end of time. Saying there will be only three popes before the end times is like saying “only three weeks before summer vacation.” Both tell us when a period of time will begin. 4) Since “the End of Times” and “The end of the times” both seem to me (and others) unfamiliar, even new expressions, it seems that many Protestants and others familiar with “the end times” terminology, might wonder where this “visionary” would get such a strange phrase, wonder what she was talking about and therefore loose any interest in learning more about the Garabandal apparitions.

    Father Saavedra writes that the adverb ‘then’ does not mean immediately (after the third pope.) With all respect for my good friend Padre Saavedra, I am not sure why this is important. If there are only three popes before the end times, can’t we assume that the end times begin before there is a fourth? Of course, not “immediately” but whether it takes a day or a month or more to choose another pope, when the end times begins has always seemed clear. (I will let others discuss whether Pope John Paul I is counted. The importance of that prediction is that it came to pass, thus adding to Conchita’s credibility and is more evidence that these apparitions are supernatural.
    Lastly Re: “Until the Church makes a pubic and definitive declaration . . . let us work on our conversion peacefully. . .” and not neglect helping others to do the same. The best way that I know of doing that is by telling others about God’s special intervention – Garabandal. “As my message . . . has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one” is a strong implication that God wants you and me to make his messages known, no?
    If the above isn’t confusing enough, I include the following:
    Pesquera writes, “In this same letter (in which Fr. Rodrigo confirms to Fr. Ramón Andreu what Conchita had told him about the three popes) there is something else that is curious, ‘Conchita also told me “As there was talk about travels to space, I asked the Virgin if there were people there and she answered me: ‘yes’ but didn’t say anything more.”
    Ed Kelly

  3. Kate R. says:

    I remember seeing a video of Garabandal. It was my understanding that this apparition has been considered in a bad light by the church. I admit it was eerie seeing the visionaries running so fast they appeared to be almost flying, didn’t they walk backward at one point? I may be remembering that incorrectly. There is a fine line, and if we do not have a church that is faithful and can keep the flock safe by ruling on matters in a timely way by appropriate means, we’re in trouble. The church seems to stick it’s finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. The church has not yet ruled on Medjugorje, and that seems completely fake, although I know there are strong adherents.

  4. Matt Noah says:

    At Lourdes, Bernadette is told by the Blessed Mother several things which Bernadette does. Bernadette does not require an interpretation of what she is told. In fact, the Church does not approve or disapprove of her vision at that time. Still, Bernadette digs in the ground and the healing waters begin to appear. Bernadette does not need the Church to interpret the fact that the Blessed Mother tells Bernadette tells her to return regularly to the grotto outside her town. Bernadette does not need the Church to tell her that the waters of Lourdes are not for her. The Blessed Mother told her. The Bishop does not open an investigation of Lourdes by receiving an order from Rome. He waits for the grotto to be opened by the King of France. That was his test of the Blessed Mother.

  5. Darrell Wright says:

    A related issue: Recent scientific analysis from various disciplines shows indisputably that Sr Lucia was replaced by an imposter between 1957 and her public appearance in 1967. It is most likely that it was before 1960 to prevent her from revealing the Third Secret of Fatima when John XXIII and cohorts decided to bury it. sisterlucyimposter.org.The theory of the impostor Sr Lucia has been around for a while and has gained a growing following from non-scientific but persuasive presentations on youtube and elsewhere. Most Catholics don’t know that Sr Lucia, who had no problem writing about the annihilation of nations, couldn’t get herself to write down the Third Secret even when ordered to by her bishop. Our Lady had to appear to her and tell her it was ok for her to write it down for the bishop. Almost assuredly the Secret which Sr Lucia couldn’t get herself to write down refers to agents of Satan taking over the Church and inaugurating the long prophesied Great Apostasy.

  6. catholictradition2 says:

    Before the end there is a period of peace after a Pope consecrates Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.. Garabandal seems to contradict or conflict this. The three popes after John 23rd have not done as requested. Our Lady said he would but it would be late. This means a future Pope.

  7. Maureen Avila says:

    The apparitions of Akita took place in the 1970’s and were approved by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) who declared that Akita was the same message as Fatima. It seems that he also would have approved Garabendal , which took place in the 1960’s if he thought that they were credible.
    There is also evidence that both Paul vi and Lucia of Fatima were replaced by frauds, so the devil may have know of plots by those planning to destroy the Church at the highest levels, and also that he may have had knowledge of the saintly prophecies re future popes.

  8. Mary Parks says:

    At Fatima, Mary gave an interpretation with each vision. The interpretation of the third vision is the still secret other half of the third secret, the one kept in the Cabinet.

    On Tue, Nov 12, 2019, 10:20 AM ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP wrote:

    > abyssum posted: ” The Three Popes and the End of Times in Garabandal > Published: Saturday, 09 November 2019 11:59 X The Three Popes and the > End of Times in Garabandal One of the topics that has set people talking > about Garabandal is the so-called&n” >

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