The “bishop dressed in white” actually kneels, Francis

May 13, 2017 (Steven O’Reilly) – Pope Francis visited Fatima this weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary on May 13, 2017, and to canonize Francisco and Jacinta.  Granted I did not watch the full coverage of Pope Francis, and fast forwarded through the videos on YouTube but…what struck me most is that I never saw a clip of Pope Francis kneeling in prayer before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. It took me all of 5 seconds to search YouTube to see if there was video of Pope Benedict XVI kneeling before a statute of Our Lady of Fatima.  I quickly found one (see here).

There is also a clip of Pope Francis visiting the tombs of Francisco and Jacinta at Fatima.  Again, he did not even kneel to say a simple prayer or meditation beside the tombs – even with a kneeler in front of him!  All very odd. When it is remembered that by all accounts Pope Francis never seems to kneel or genuflect at the consecration or in the presence of the Eucharist, none of any of this should come as a surprise.  There could potentially be a health issue involved, such as a bad back, which might make it impossible or difficult to kneel. That might seem an explanation, but given the Pope will kneel when washing the feet of those he does on Holy Thursday, the health angle appears doubtful.

Curiously, it is reported that Pope Francis while at Fatima referred to himself as the “bishop dressed in white” – a phrase used by Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, in writing of the Third Secret.  The released text of the Third Secret reads in part:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Now, Pope Francis certainly is a “bishop dressed in white,” but he cannot be the “bishop dressed in white” referenced by Sr. Lucia.  How do we know this? First of all, the Vatican explanation of the Secret is that John Paul II is the bishop of the vision, which – they say – describes the attempted assassination of him. Beyond that, even if the Vatican interpreters are wrong and we posit that some future pope is intended, we still have very good reason to doubt – with a high degree of certainty – that Pope Francis would be the “bishop dressed in white.”  The reason it is improbable Pope Francis is the “bishop dressed in white” is because the pope of the above vision is actually said to be “on his knees at the foot of a big cross” – and the “on his knees” thing seems to be something Pope Francis just does not do.



18 thoughts on “The “bishop dressed in white” actually kneels, Francis

  1. His Holiness Pope Francis responded yesterday during the Pope’s press conference to a reporter’s question in regard to “bishop in white.”

    Aura Miguel (Radio Renascença): “Your Holiness, in Fatima you presented yourself as the “bishop dressed in white.” Up to now, this expression applied rather to the vision of the third part of the secret, St. John Paul II, the martyrs of the twentieth century. What does it mean now, your identification with this expression?”

    Pope Francis: “The prayer, that, I did not write it… the sanctuary wrote it… but also I have tried because they said this, and there is a connection with the white. The bishop of white, Our Lady of white, the white glow of the innocence of children after Baptism and innocence… there is a connection to the color white in that prayer. I believe – because I did not write it – but I believe that literally they have tried to express with white that desire for innocence, for peace… innocence: to not hurt the other … to not create conflict, the same.”

    Miguel: “Is it a revision of the interpretation…”

    Pope Francis: “No, but that vision … I believe that then Cardinal Ratzinger, at that time prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, explained everything clearly.”


    Mark Thomas


  2. Until this second, I haven’t devoted even one second to the supposed issue of Pope Francis and kneeling. I am too busy dealing with my sins and need to increase in holiness than to worry about the amount of times that this or that Catholic has knelt.

    I believe that God prefers me to worry about my relationship with Him rather than to pick at His Holiness Pope Francis.

    Anyway…I have set aside finally a few seconds to search Google images in regard to Pope Francis and kneeling. I have located a number of photos that featured Pope Francis on his knees to honor God.

    That is good enough for me. But then, I need to focus upon my need to increase in holiness. May God have mercy upon my soul.

    May God continue to bless our God-loving, beautiful follower of Jesus Christ, His Holiness Pope Francis. Deo gratias for His Holiness Pope Francis.


    Mark Thomas


    1. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment. Thanks for the links to the photos. Duly noted. Yet, there are plenty of observations and commentaries about there being a kneeling ‘issue’ (e.g.,,, And, of course, there was again a lack of kneeling at the Fatima anniversary. But, as your link and other photos attest (such as on Holy Thursday)…Pope Francis can kneel. That suggests a medical explanation is doubtful – or perhaps that if there is one, that it flames up on occasion. Who knows. Still odd. Some sort of explanation from the Vatican would helpful. It would have been nice if one of the reporters on the plane had asked him why he did not kneel before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as his predecessors had done. You may not find it remarkable or noteworthy that he did not. I do. On that we will have to agree to disagree. Regards.


  3. I saw EWTN’s “World Over” 11 May edition. They had a discussion on Fatima where the guest (Dominican priest??) and Arroyo both said it wasn’t clear that the “Bishop dressed in White” or Holy father was killed…only that “he goes down.”

    Doesn’t exactly square with your extract from the Vatican website. Of course, the “JPII as Bishop in White” theory doesn’t quite work if the bishop actually dies in the vision….


    1. No, you are correct, The theory would not work. However, I think the counterargument would be that Lucia described the appearance of what happened in the vision, i.e., he *appeared* to be killed. That aside, I find it difficult to accept that the young children were shown this vision without Mary giving a narration on the events which they were witnessing in the vision.


  4. If you pay attention to Steve Skojek’s blog, he has had some very interesting posts lately on the third secret of Fatima, and the controversy of the REAL third secret and if it has been given to us. Not sure if we will ever know for sure, but the third secret that has been analyzed as being ‘real’ and ‘authentic ‘has been declared by 4 different handwriting analysts that are supposedly the top in their field, that it is indeed Sr. Lucia’s handwriting. Like I said, we may never really know, but the third secret that is supposedly the authentic one is eerily close to what we are living through in the Church as we speak. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the third secret we were given by John Paul ll mentioned nothing of the apostasy that would creep into the Church and make its way to the very top. It also (I don’t think) mentioned that the cornerstone of the tomb of St. Peter should be removed and taken to Fatima to be placed at the Church there, which John Paul ll did remove it, and had it sent to the Bishop of Fatima, I believe in the year 2000. That fact alone lends to suspicion. Why would he have done that if it wasn’t in the third secret, unless he (of course) knew what the authentic one said, or unless we were given only a part of the third secret. VERY interesting, I would say.


    1. I did see Steve Skojec’s article. Very interesting. I am not really in a position to judge. Though I am a Fatima believer, I am certainly by no means an expert on the provenance of some of the documents which are said to contain the actual third secret (beyond that which we “officially” know from the Vatican). Regarding handwriting experts, that is interesting, but to me not decisive. Handwriting can be forged. I do think it difficult to believe Mary would have shown them a vision without narrating to them what they were witnessing, its meaning, etc. Like others, I suspect the narration has been withheld. Why? Possibly because what it describes is so horrendous regarding the Church and the world that the “Vatican” does not want to vouch for it as reliable; possibly given some of the problems in the aftermath of La Salette.


    2. This post was so long ago, but it’s all coming up now. Sr. Lucia was told to reveal what she saw in the third secret, but not was she was given to understand about it. Therefore, there is more in the way of understanding that has not been revealed unless the meaning is metaphorical as Benedict XVI suggested.


  5. Ditto Steven. I am no expert either, although an avid believer, I can’t help but think that even if we were given part of the message correctly, I’m not completely convinced we were given the entire message in totality. Every time the subject comes up, I think: “OK, so where is the rest of it?” And then there is the controversy of the consecration of Russia. The ‘world’ has been consecrated to Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart several times by several Popes. If the hierarchy really believes it has been done correctly as they say Sr. Lucia had assured them, why does it seem every Pope installed, does it yet AGAIN? Even Pope Francis upon being installed performed the ‘consecration’, again….to the ‘world’. Do they think that possibly it didn’t ‘take’? And for what reason, if Sr. Lucia said years ago that Heaven has accepted the consecration? The way that the hierarchy has handled Fatima to me is incoherent. It’s just very ‘off’.


  6. We know for certain that Sr Lucia said for 5 long years that the Consecration done by JPII in 1984 wasn’t done properly according to the requirements of Our Lady, though it brought some good fruits like the fall of the communist ideology in USSR..
    She changed her declarations in 1989, stating that “the Consecration has been accepted by Heavens” because she was OBLIGED to say so out of her carmelite’s vows of obedience, by a strict order coming from Rome.
    The local bishop of Fatima acknowledged that he had conveyed this order to Sr Lucia.

    “The Abbé Caillon, who made enquiries not just in Portugal but also in Rome, uncovered the reason: «The Pope is saying that the consecration is done. He is forcing Lucy to say the same as he.24»

    It was in 1988 that the Vatican gave orders to the Fatima authorities, to Sister Lucy and several ecclesiastics25 that they were no longer to “importune” the Holy Father with the consecration of Russia: «A directive arrived from Rome, obliging each and every one to say and think, “The consecration is done. Seeing that the Pope has done everything he could, Heaven has deigned to accept his gesture.”26» Msgr. Martinez Somalo, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, personally sent this instruction to the Abbé Caillon through his bishop, Msgr. Dubigeon27.

    The order was transmitted to the seer by the bishop of Fatima, Msgr. do Amaral. In a private discussion with him, on March 2, 1995, I asked, «Have you spoken with Sister Lucy since your parlour conversation with her, in the presence of the nuncio, on March 21, 1982?

    – Yes. I met her once, for a private talk, to convey to her an order from supreme authority.

    – Had the Pope personally written to you for that purpose?

    – No, it was the Cardinal Secretary of State who wrote to ask me to carry out this task.»

    In another conversation, on February 20, 2003, I asked him about the order he had communicated to the seer: «Did John Paul II want her to say “The consecration is done.” Was that the order from the Pope that you passed to Lucy?

    – Yes, exactly that.»

    Therefore the Truth remains that the Consecration of Russia to the IHM that will trigger the conversion of Russia to the catholic Faith and bring a period of peace, is still to be done urgently.


  7. The bishop dressed in white can be read as a distinct person from the holy father who kneels . . .

    See where she refers to the bishop dressed in white and says “we had the impression that it was the holy father.”

    Later, she explicitly says it was the holy father who passed through a bog city . . . Here she does not use the term “bishop in white” again.

    So I would take him at his word that he is “the bishop in white”. I would not then automatically assume that he is the holy father in the vision.

    Perhaps he is as a reflection of the holy father, like in a mirror but not necessarily the same. I have seen my reflection in the mirror and in water. What is depicted in them looks like me but I know that it isn’t.


    1. Anthony, thanks for your comments. I don’t know what it means, so your guess is as good as mine.

      But before giving you my take…here is the quote from Sr. Lucia I will refer to:

      “And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’.”

      I don’t think the “reflection” means two different people. Of course I could be wrong…but my read of it is….the thing “like a mirror” was in the “immense light that is God”…So my take is that it is a reflection of how God sees the pope/church/world. It signifies judgment in my opinion. And as some of those who have seen the third secret, like Cardinal Ciappi, or who studied everything around it (Fr. Michel), suggest the secret deals mainly with apostasy in the Church and failure of the hierarchy. I think the ‘refection’ idea I suggest above might be consistent with that hypothesis. But…I certainly don’t know. Like I said…your guess is as good as mine.




  8. – Perhaps, the only way that the children were able to comprehend this vision was to then hear the explanation from Mary, and perhaps it is this which has not been handed down to us. Perhaps this is why we are left so uncertain. Perhaps there is something more yet not revealed to us. When there is a mystery such as this, maybe a good place to start is with the butler.


    1. Anthony…I do believe there is something missing to the secret, as you suggest, re Mary’s words narrating what the children see, I find it hard to believe that the children would be shown a vision at Fatima without being given some indication of what is happening in it; or some clue to what it signifies.

      Of course, God can do things as HE wills it. But…it does seem hard — for me at least — to think the vision was given without any commentary by Mary.




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