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Authors: Peter J; Tanous

The Secret of Fatima

BOOK: The Secret of Fatima
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The Secret of Fatima

Peter J. Tanous

To

Theron Wade Raines
9/26/1925-11/05/2012
Founder, Raines & Raines, Literary Agents

and

Josephine Tanous

Contents

Chapter One,
The Vatican

Chapter Two

Chapter Three,
Washington, D.C.

Chapter Four,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Five,
Vatican City

Chapter Six,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Seven,
Kevin's Mission, Vatican City

Chapter Eight,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Nine,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Ten,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Eleven,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twelve,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirteen,
Pope Quintus II

Chapter Fourteen,
Rome Italy

Chapter Fifteen,
Fallujah, Iraq

Rome Italy

Chapter Sixteen,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Seventeen,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Eighteen,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Nineteen,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty-One,
Fatima, Portugal

Chapter Twenty-Two,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty-Three,
Sarjevo, Bosnia

Chapter Twenty-Four,
Saragevo, Bosnia

Chapter Twenty-Five,
Medjugorje, Herzegovina Region

Chapter Twenty-Six,
The Vatican, Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty-Seven,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty-Eight,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Twenty-Nine,
Vatican Hospital, Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty,
The Conclave

Chapter Thirty-One,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Two,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Three,
The Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Four,
The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Square

Chapter Thirty-Five,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Six,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Seven,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Thirty-Eight,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Thirty-Nine,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Forty,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Forty-One,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Forty-Two,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Forty-Three,
Seville, Spain

Chapter Forty-Four,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Forty-Five,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Forty-Six,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Forty-Seven,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Forty-Eight,
Washington, D.C.

Chapter Forty-Nine,
Washington, D.C
.

Chapter Fifty,
Washington, D.C.

Chapter Fifty-One,
Washington, D.C.

Chapter Fifty-Two,
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Chapter Fifty-Three,
Washington, D.C.

Chapter Fifty-Four,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Fifty-Five,
Rome, Italy

Chapter Fifty-Six,
Rome, Italy

Chapter One

The Vatican

September 28, 1978

Folds of paper-thin skin draped over the man's eyes. His grim expression foretold the importance of the impending reading. His shoulders rounded forward, Monsignor Antonio Calvi emerged from an underground corridor deep within the Vatican, both hands clutching a jeweled velvet pouch at his chest. The pouch contained the wax seal of the previous pope, evidence the document within hadn't been tampered with since the seal had been affixed. As archivist and custodian of the Vatican's most sensitive documents, it was Calvi's sole duty to protect it.

Three Pontifical Swiss Guards waited for him outside the
Archivio Segreto Vaticano
. As Calvi approached, they joined him. The four crowded into a small elevator and rode to the top floor of the Apostolic Palace. Besides the elevator's grinding cables, the only sound was the thunderous pounding of Calvi's heart. He was sure everyone could hear it. But no one was saying a word.

The elevator stopped with a thud. One by one, the men stepped out. With his eyes focused forward, Calvi led the way to Pope John Paul I's private study in the papal library. The newly elected Holy Father had summoned Calvi, and the others, to his study where he'd break the seal on the jeweled velvet pouch and read the secret document inside. He alone was authorized to do so.

Cardinal Villot, secretary of state of the Vatican, greeted the men at the papal quarters. “Good morning, Monsignor Calvi. Join us, won't you?”

Nodding, Calvi joined Cardinals Silvano and Villot, along with several priests, standing around a large oval mahogany table in the papal library. Heavy red velvet drapes had been drawn at the windows, shutting out the glaring lights in St. Peter's Square.

The bedroom door opened. Smiling, John Paul I walked into the room. “Please be seated,” said the pope, gracefully waving his hand over the table. The pontiff wore a white silk cassock with matching pellegrina and white fringed fascia. On his head was the white papal zucchetto. The pectoral cross hung loosely around his neck. With his salt-and-pepper hair, the pope was youthful looking; his slender face lit up.

Calvi could see why, just a month after his election, people were calling this one “the “Smiling Pope.”

As Pope John Paul I seated himself at the head of the table, the others followed.

Slowly raising his eyes, Cardinal Villot nodded at Calvi.

Standing up, Calvi knelt to kiss the papal ring, and handed the jeweled pouch to the pontiff. The pope's hands, he was surprised to note, were shaking.
Probably from excitement and anticipation
. In respect to the pontiff's privacy, the monsignor turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Outside the study, Calvi and the three guards waited in silence. They stood erect, barely moving, lost in their thoughts. Calvi nervously paced the corridor, checking his watch repeatedly. When half an hour had passed, Cardinal Silvano flung open the door. His face fiery, lips pursed, he was noticeably unsettled, agitated.

“Calvi, come in!” Silvano bellowed, motioning frantically for him.

Confused, Calvi rushed inside, scanning the entire room.
Something wasn't right
. Then he saw. The pope was lying fully stretched out on the floor, his body half-obscured by Cardinal Villot, who was leaning over him. Calvi's heart jumped into his throat. The pontiff's eyes were shut, his face distorted in pain. He wasn't breathing. He was lifeless, drained of color.

“What happened?” whispered Calvi. He could barely form the words.

“We don't know,” said Cardinal Villot, his mouth drawn into a thin line, his hands folded across his stomach. “It was sudden. Presumably a heart attack.”

The manuscript lay facedown on the table, its pages strewn, splayed like a deck of cards, the jeweled pouch at one side. The Holy Father's reading specs were also there on the floor, shattered as if stomped on. Standing stupefied, Calvi gazed at the shards of glass. His heart was breaking like the glass before him.
This couldn't be happening!

Then suddenly the burning reality of his mandate was overpowering. Calvi sprang to the table, hurriedly gathered up the manuscript's yellowed pages, refolding and inserting them back into the velvet pouch. He'd protect this secret document, no matter what, to the end. His job in this crisis was simple: to return the pouch, and its sacred contents, to the archives, unscathed.

Cardinal Villot requested holy oil to perform a last anointing. A monsignor handed him a vial.


Si capax, ego te absolvo a peccatistuis, in nomine Patris, et Filli, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen
.” Villot dipped his thumb into the vial, tracing the sign of the cross on the pope's forehead. “Through this anointing, may God forgive you whatever sins you have committed. By the faculty given me by the Apostolic See, I grant you a plenary indulgence and remission of all sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Calvi was sobbing.
This couldn't be! A moment ago the Pope was healthy, smiling. How could His Holiness be no longer? Only a month into his papacy!

And now, for the second time in a year, Cardinal Villot was the
Camerlengo
—the man who'd assume papal responsibilities until the time when the conclave elected a new pope.

Clutching the jeweled pouch, Calvi thought he might be sick.

A priest took a lit candle and, with the flame, softened a red stick of wax. When it melted, the priest motioned for the pouch. He dripped a liquid circle onto the strings to seal it, then gave it back to Calvi.

Bending down, Villot eased the papal ring from the finger of the deceased pope and soaked it in the pool of soft wax, creating the final seal of John Paul I. A young priest retrieved a silver hammer from its ceremonial case in the study. Then, in keeping with sacred tradition, Cardinal Villot took the silver hammer and smashed the seal on the papal ring, marking the end of the papacy of John Paul I.

Turning to the six men present, Cardinal Villot addressed them. “It is September 28, 1978. On this day, His Holiness John Paul I has died. No man present here in this room will discuss what's transpired here today. From this day forward, let it be known to all, our beloved pontiff passed in his sleep while reading ‘
Imitation of Christ
.'”

Calvi nodded, his eyes closed, his heart heavy with a foreboding.
These damnable pages! What were they about?
Calvi might never know. The document was accessible only to the pope. Faithfully, Calvi was following the rules to the letter. He knew one thing: Whatever was in that document had caused the death of the leader of the Catholic Church.
Who'd be next?
Calvi shuddered. His life's work was safeguarding this document. Whatever its purpose or mystery, it was his solemn and sole mission to protect it. Even if it meant giving up his life for it.

Chapter Two

Washington D.C. Present day. Basketball practice started at seven-thirty a.m. sharp on weekdays. Father Kevin Thrall always told the boys to be there on time. On this day, as usual, he was early. He yawned, shaking off the stressful uncertainty caused by an unexpected four a.m. phone call. Groping to get to his bedside lamp for the phone, he'd knocked over a glass of water; when finally he'd answered it, no one was on the line. There were many who might have called. None good.

Glancing over the basketball court, Father Thrall noticed another sizeable chunk of the concrete had come loose.
Hell, the damn parking lot was in better shape
. The basketball court stood adjacent to the parking lot by St. Anthony's main building, a Fifties structure which hadn't seen repairs since its construction during the Eisenhower Administration. Southeast Washington, D.C., especially the Anacostia neighborhood, was a ramshackle area taken over by the African-American community and a few immigrant families. Kevin was happy here in this job. Kevin, as Father Thrall, could make a difference.

The students were tough city kids who longed for the chance to get out in the world and do something. Be somebody. Escape this life. Most of them in Father Thrall's basketball squad had stuck it out, a tribute to their abiding respect for him and his program. And to their gratitude to him. They'd pegged him as a rebel, an iconoclast, and they admired him because they identified with him. It made it easier to deal with his military style of discipline.

At forty-two, Kevin Thrall was aware, and had come to terms, with his appearance. He knew he looked older than his years. It didn't surprise him, given the knots in his life. Already his chestnut hair was speckled with flecks of gray and his blue eyes were lined more than they should've been. He didn't mind. His six-foot, lean stature made him attractive to members of the opposite sex, which might've meant more to him if he'd been in another line of work. Still, it didn't hurt to have women looking, smiling coyly at him. Some didn't seem to care he was a priest.

BOOK: The Secret of Fatima
13.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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