Some people will be very disappointed by this: Vatican Discloses ‘Third Secret’ of Fatima. Shortly after this week’s beatification of two of the child witnesses to the 1917 apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, a representative of the Pope disclosed that the so-called third secret is interpreted as a reference to the 1981 assassination attempt against the Pope. While the first two alleged predictions of the Virgin were made public (they are interpreted as referring to the course of the World Wars and the rise and fall of Communism), the third was sent in a sealed envelope to the Vatican and remained a secret since the apparition. Theories about what it prophesized have been rife, and the basis of all sorts of arcane conspiracy scenarios involving the Vatican. A very popular notion is that it spoke of a deep rift in the Roman Catholic Church and rival papacies, which some believe exist today. Fatima fanatics have resorted to desperate acts at times to attempt to compel the Vatican to reveal the third secret, and the prophetic significance of the Fatima apparition has far outstripped the devotional importance of the shrine, e.g. in its becoming an ideological touchstone for anti-Communist fervency during the cold war. It remains to be seen if third secret devotees accept the Vatican announcement or see it as a conspiratorial cover-up. Others may be let down.