Substitution of Sister Lucy for an Imposter was Clearly a State Secret of the Highest, and only the Highest, Levels of the Vatican. Cardinal Ottaviani seems to have had No Knowledge of it when he sent Fr. Luigi Villa there in 1973.
Must be the reason why Cardinal Ciappi said that the Third Secret was about, "the apostasy in the Church will begin at the VERY TOP." Obviously one or two steps down did not have "clearance" to know about the Fatima Fraud. See link to Chiesa Viva article below.
Among the sensitive issues assigned to him by Card. Ottaviani, was a meeting with Lucia of Fatima. One day Cardinal Ottaviani told Fr. Villa: «I think I will send you to Fatima to speak directly with Sister Lucia.»
He accepted with joy. A business man from Padua joined him, Mr. Pagnossin, a convert of Padre Pio, who offered to pay for the trip and the stay in Portugal. Cardinal Ottaviani had provided him with a personal letter, signed by him, as Prefect of the Holy Office. This was to be delivered to the Bishop of Coimbra, to allow him to arrange a meeting with Sister Lucia. But the Bishop of Coimbra, before granting the meeting with the Seer, picked up the phone and called the Vatican. Msgr. Giovanni Benelli answered but, before giving the permission, he told him that he wanted to talk to Paul VI, because Rome had given strict orders: “an interview” with Lucy was allowed only to Royalty and to Cardinals.
Msgr. Benelli, Pro-secretary of State, transmitted to the Bishop of Coimbra the prohibition of Paul VI for the request of an interview with Sister Lucia. Useless, then, was the insistence of Father Villa, in high- lighting his role as the envoy of the Prefect of the Holy Office. However, he remained in Portugal, trying to overcome the resistance of the Bish- op. After ten days, however, he had to resign himself to defeat. He only ob- tained permission from the Bishop to celebrate a Mass in the Chapel of the Convent.
When back in Italy, Father Luigi went immediately to report the incident to Card. Ottaviani. The Cardinal felt offended by the conduct of Paul VI, and immediately wrote a letter of protest. After returning later, in Rome, Cardinal Ottaviani told Father Villa that Paul VI had made an apology, saying, however, that Msgr. Benelli had made the decision. But the Cardinal pointed out that this was the usual method of the double-dealing of Paul VI.
As long as Pius XII lived, the Vatican, for Father Villa, was more than welcoming: in addition to meetings, related to his activities as a secret agent, Father Villa dined and supped at least fifty times with Cardinals and Bishops. But when Paul VI came to power, he found himself deprived of every hospitality and every opportunity to take steps to defend the Catholic Faith.