with kind permission from St. Joseph Publications
from the book She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Book 1)
NOTE: All excerpts from Conchita's Diary will be in extra-bold type
In the early days of June, not only what is called the Catholic world, but the entire world was closely following what was happening in the pope's chamber at the Vatican.
There struggling in his last agony, was the one who had captured more swiftly and amply than anyone before, the admiration of almost everyone, and the love of a great many. The final curtain was inexorably descending on Angelo Giusseppe Roncalli, the man called Pope John XXIII. And the world was watching breathlessly for many days as he painfully died.
On June 3rd came the sudden notice that at last the flame had gone out. The Pope was dead.
As in so many other belfries throughout the world, the crude rustic bells in the church tower in Garabandal tolled for his death. But beneath the clanging bells at Garabandal, a comment was made, very different from those made in other parts of the world.
The sound from the belltower came to the little kitchen where the widow Aniceta Gonzalez and her daughter Conchita were on that afternoon.
— Listen; they are ringing the bells! — the
daughter exclamed immediately.
— It's for the Pope — said the mother.
— Certainly , . . Now only three remain.
During those days Paquina de la Roza Velarde (Dr.
Ortiz' wife) was in the village. One morning a funeral mass for the dead
pope was to be said in the parish church, and the bells began to ring early
in the morning. Paquina, Maximina, another woman and Conchita, after having
prayed the rosary in the Calleja (How delightful were those rosaries in
the silence and freshness of the morning!) made their way to the church.
On their way they were speaking of the current news:
— Well, I agree that another pope will come; but as
for the Council . . . Perhaps the new pope won't think like John XXIII.
— Another pope will come and the Council will continue.
— Oh, you are saying that from the prophecy of St.
— St. Malachy? That's the first time I heard of that. The Virgin told me that after this Pope (John XXIII) there remain only three; and afterwards, the end of the times.
Conchita told him, «Yes Father. It's true. The Virgin told me that after John XXIII only three popes remain, and this one, (Paul VI) is the first of those three.»
In October of 1966, Conchita became a boarder in the college of the teaching sisters of the Immaculate Conception at Burgos. On November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, she talked confidentially with the director of the center, Mother Nieves Garcia. Among other things, she said this, which the religious sister wrote down very carefully:
«One day I said to the Virgin, 'Will the end of the world be during the time of these events?'And she told me, 'No, the end of the times.'After Paul VI, there will be only two more popes; and then the end of the times will come.»
If it cannot be accepted that Conchita invented such a definite and compromising prediction, neither could it be held that the prophecy of St. Malachy suggested it to her. First, because she was completely unaware of it; and secondly, because this prophecy and her prediction do not agree.
This prophecy concerning the popes, that is so talked about today, came out in 1595. A Benedictine monk from Belgium, Arnold de Wion, published at the time a voluminous work under the title of Lignum Vitae. It was a type of general biography of the great personages in his order. In this work were listed a series of 111 divisions or titles in Latin, which he reported as coming from an Irish saint of the twelfth century: St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh. These divisions tended to correspond, one after the other, to the popes that came after Innocent II, who died in 1143.
The authenticity of this enormous prophecy has been discussed endlessly; authenticity in a double sense: in whether it can be truly attributed to the saint, and in whether it really was inspired from above. I doubt if the question will ever be resolved. But there is something that strikes the reader: the amazing accuracy with which many of the titles describe the popes to which they correspond.<> According to the prophecy of St. Malachy, after John XXIII there still remain five more popes. There are five more titles after his, ending with the name of the last successor of St. Peter. Conchita, on the other hand, speaks of only three. The discrepancy could be only an apparent one if, as some think, a new schism arises in the church, with the elevation of anti-popes. To these could correspond some of these last titles that seem to be in series, [The four divisions that follow John XXIII are:1. Flos florum = Flower of flowers. 2. De medietate lunae = Half of the moon. 3. De labore solis = From the work of the sun. 4. De gloria olivae = From the glory of the olive branch.] attributing some to the legitimate popes and others to the false, or anti-popes.
In persecutione extrema Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribula-tionibus; quibus transactis, civitas septicollis diruetur, et Judex tremendus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, Peter the Roman will reign, who will pasture his sheep among multiple tribulations. When these have passed, the city of the seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. Finis."
Related to the succession of John XXIII and the possibility of the anti-popes is an episode which curiously is not mentioned either in Fr. Valentin's notes or in the reports of the best-known witnesses of Garabandal.
On the suggestion of the pastor from Barro, who had his part in the episode, I wrote to Margarita Huerta in Madrid, asking for details. She answered on June 18th, 1973:
«Yes, I was in Garabandal during the visit of the false pope, Clement XV. But I can't remember the date; possibly it was during 1963, as you suggest, or perhaps in 1964; I do remember that it was during my summer vacation, between July and August.»
(Concerning the year, there is no room for question. The November, 1972 issue of 'La Verite,' the magazine of Clement XV, contains an interview of the pseudo-pope with a reporter in which the pseudo-pope said, "I was in Garabandal on August 2nd, 1963. " [Surely this August 2 is a printer's error, and should be August 22. A letter from Conchita to Father Laffineur makes me think this way: «San Sebastian de Garabandal .... August 23,1963. Just a few words to tell you that yesterday a car came to the village with a man accompanied by two others. He was dressed in white and carried a large cross on his chest, also a skullcap and ring. He was French. He came saying that he was the Pope chosen by God; that Paul VI was elected only by the cardinals. He also said that from the time he was 35 years old, he saw the Virgin and also God, Who was the one who told him to come here ...»] (just two months after the death of Pope John)
«He rode into the village in a big limousine, accompanied by two young laymen of about 21 years of age, and another one over 30 years old who seemed to be married.» According to Fr. de la Riva, those that accompanied him were wearing smart uniforms. «He wore an impeccable white cassock, and a similar white skullcap on his head, a ring like bishops wear, and on his chest there was a large cross hanging from a long chain. On seeing him, the people gathered around him immediately, thinking naturally that he was an important character. He gave his ring to kiss and all looked at him with the greatest respect.»
(Perhaps this reception was the basis for what he believed of himself . . . And what he told a reporter from Amsterdam, "I was received as the true pope. I was taken by the people of the village to the places of the apparitions. It was a triumphal hosanna. As I didn't know the visionaries or their messages, I felt really surprised by such enthusiasm." The poor man had to believe that God had spoken there in his favor ... But his euphoria was not destined to last long.)
«As neither he nor his companions spoke anything but French, my friend and I began to act as intermediaries. He told me that he had come to visit Garabandal by command of the departed John XXIII, who had confided to him the mission of investigating the events occurring there ... At the time, I succeeded in getting away from him for a few moments and I went to where Fr. José Ramón Garcia de la Riva had separated himself from the crowd's commotion. I relayed his declarations to the priest and he told me, Go and ask him to show you the document that he brings from Rome,
When I asked him for it, he answered me, No. I don't carry any document; John XXIII gave me the order verbally.
I went to tell this to Fr. José Ramón and he said to me, I don't like the sound of this. Only God can know who this character is! Furthermore I don't want to know anything about this matter; I'm not looking for trouble. And he walked away.»
Margarita could not know that, at the same time in a separate conversation, two of his accomplices were telling her friend Fracasado that he was the authentic Pope, the Pope "Flos florum"predicted by the prophet St. Malachy to follow John XXIII. And that it was he, Clement XV, and not the false Pope Paul VI, who should be obeyed.
Frustrated with regard to saying Mass, Clement XV expressed to Margarita another desire: to talk with the girls of the apparitions. Immediately someone went to find them, but the girls, for some reason (perhaps they had been alerted about this suspicious personality), did not want to come.
Clement XV was irritated, and so at the time Margarita tried to soothe over the situation:
«Understand that the Bishop of Santander has prohibited priests and religious from coming here without written permission. And as you don't carry any certificate, either your own or from Rome, the people have started to look at you with suspicion.
Then he asked me to find a house for him where he could eat and sleep. I took them to Tiva's house and they invited me to eat with them; I accepted the invitation. Before ending, Clement XV still insisted on his desire of talking with the girls; he said to the oldest of those accompanying him, Why don't you go with this woman to Conchita's house and tell her to come here? The man answered without even looking at him, I? Why should I go? In no way will I go. Clement XV remained without saying a word.»
This sudden getaway had its reason. On the previous afternoon, as soon as rumors about this character wanting to pass himself off as the real Pope had come to his ears, Fr. de la Riva went to Ceferino, the Mayor of the village, to tell him this person's stay would bring many troubles and problems to everyone. Then Ceferino went up to Clement XV to make him know, that if he did not immediately get out of the village, he would be turned over to the commandant of the Civil Guard at Puente Nansa.
The warning had its effect. Clement XV dispensed with his pontifical air. Asking Ceferino not to do anything, he said they would leave right away, and would he permit them only to rest there that night.
How is such self-suggestion possible? Or perhaps it is not self-suggestion . . .
In another place in this book, Conchita's statement to the Mother at the college at Burgos on November 12th, 1966 was mentioned,
«You know Father Collin? Now he is passing for a pope. He was in my village. He wanted to talk with me, but my mother didn't let him. Finally they threw him out of the village . . . Well, when I was in Rome, (January, 1966) they showed me a picture in a magazine on which I appeared next to him, and it was written there that he had been with me, and many other lies.»
Obviously, Clement XV wanted to exploit the events of Garabandal to his advantage, just as he has always tried to make people believe that the famous Secret of Fatima was in his favor. [But who is this individual?
Clement XV has spoken!]
This is a difficult question, which would require many pages for clarification. We will only make some brief considerations here, so that the matter will not be completely obscure.
If by end of the world is understood the annihilation of the cosmic world that we are acquainted with, we could well say that the end of the world will never come, since the world will not be destroyed, but substantially changed. To speak therefore of the end of the world is to refer to that final point in history when the existence of man as he is at present will be changed into another form, very different and much better.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone... And death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne said: Behold I make all things new. (Ap. 21; 1-5)
Such a substantial change would certainly comprise a tremendous display of upheaval and destruction; since for man, the worker of iniquity (Matt. 13: 41), the change from the temporary state to the permanent will not be smooth.
But the present heavens and earth, by the same word are kept in store, reserved for fire on the day of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men... But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat and the earth and the works that are in it shall be burned up. (II Peter 3: 7-10)
To all this we refer when we speak of the end of the world. If the expression, end of the times does not mean the same, then it would have to refer to something prior to it and of exceptional importance. What would this be? That is the question.
TIME certainly will not end until the finish of the present form of existence; an existence that is transitory, subject to succession and change; because of this, the end of time will coincide with the end of the world.
But "the times" may well not be the same thing as "time" ...
Jesus, in His eschatological discourse, [It is called this since it speaks of the last events, referring to the final consummation of man's history. The theological study that deals with the last things of the world has received the name of Eschatology (from the Greek word 'eschatos' meaning last).] according to the version of St. Luke (21: 24) said about the coming ruin of the Jewish city: And they Shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led awav captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the gentiles; [For the Jews, the gentiles comprise all other peoples and nations that are not descendants of Abraham, the chosen one of God. The Israelites, sons and heirs of the promise, constitute a nation completely separate; the other nations are the common masses. Because of this, the word gentile, rather than having a religious signification, indicates the condition of being part of the masses.] until the times of the nations be fulfilled.
Thus the first chosen people, Israel, will remain dispersed and their capital, the Holy City, abandoned by God as in the grand captivity of Babylon. The gentiles who embrace the faith will then replace the unfaithful Jewish nation as the nation of God. Such a situation will last for a long time: the times of the nations. These times will be fulfilled when the time comes for Israel once again thru a massive conversion to Christianity. The effects of such a conversion would have enormous significance, according to St. Paul:
Have the Jews fallen forever, or have they just stumbled? Obviously they have not fallen forever. But by their fall, salvation has com to the gentiles... For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their reception be, but resurec-tion from the dead! (Romans II: 11-15)
History then will take a spectacular turn, unforeseeable and bewildering. Truly there will be new times. Is this being heralded by Garabandal for the near future? Can the end of the times, which is predicted to follow John XXlII's third successor, be the consummation of the times of the nations, that will pave the way for Israel's great new epoch in the service of God and mankind?
I would be inclined to say yes, [Perhaps the fact of presenting herself at Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, apart from its theological and mystical meaning (see the Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross), has also a mysterious reference to the nearness of eschatological times. Mount Carmel has been closely associated with devotion to the Virgin from the remotest times; but it is also closely associated with the history of Israel (in the decisive hours of the Alliance) and with the activities of the great prophet of the old testament, Elias. By appearing under her ancient title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in these modern times of the world, does the Virgin want to indicate that she will take decisive action so that the mass conversion of the Jews — that has been waiting for almost two millennia now — will be accomplished, fulfilling that way the times of the nations?
Or would He proceed to the great consummation supposed by the Last Universal Judgment, in which case, the end of the times would be practically the same thing as the end of the world.
Or would He only change the present state of things in such a way as to prepare the final path for the great consummation. Perhaps St. Paul refers to this when he says:
For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. And when all things shall be subdued under Him, then the Son Himself must be subject also to Him that pnt all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (I Cor. 15: 25-28)
There is also another possibility: in speaking of the three last popes, this could refer to their reigning in Rome like their predecessors. Only in this would they be the last, since perhaps there could later be some extra-Roman pontiffs. Can this possibility be excluded?
The more I think about it, the more I favor the last hypothesis.
The Catholic Church originated in Jerusalem where Saint Peter had his seat. Following the falling away of Israel after the Jews put the Messiah to death and violently rejected his works, Saint Peter went to find a place among the nations, the gentile people, and his seat was established in Rome which was then the undeniable head of the gentile world.
The succession of Saint Peter was then perpetuated in the Bishop of Rome who was the Pope of the Church and the Head of the Episcopal College. From that time the same person was both Bishop of Rome and Head of the Church.
But if Rome would perish or disappear, there would be no more bishops belonging to it. And if Jerusalem would become a converted Israel, a Christian one, a Holy City as had so often been predicted by the biblical prophecies, it would become the city of the great King. Here the word of the Lord would save all peoples and the successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ, would situate himself. The center of the Church would thus return to its origin.
Rome is called Babylon in passages of the New Testament (I Peter 5: 13) and there are many things in the 17th and 19th chapters of the Apocalypse about its destiny . . .
Concise and explicit is the final paragraph of the famous prophecy of Saint Malachy on the popes: In the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church the throne will be held by Peter the Roman, who will tend his sheep in the midst of tribulations. When these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people.
Mysteries! Mysteries! Mysteries!
But we should not ignore that Garabandal, from the days of 1963, has proclaimed that we are entering into decisive times, perhaps the last that will be marked by the arms of the great clock of history.