“A stern warning has been launched from that place [Fatima] that is directed against the prevailing frivolity, a summons to the seriousness of life, of history, to the perils that threaten humanity. It is that which Jesus Himself recalls very frequently: ‘Unless you repent you will all perish.'” (Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger)
The continuity and importance of the Fatima apparitions was manifested by the papacy of Saint John Paul II who beatified two of the three Fatima seers, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, on May 13, 2000. It is well known that “Pope John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following the assassination attempt on Wednesday, May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, in 1981.” Thereafter, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine in Fatima, Portugal three times.
Pope Francis’ pontificate was entrusted to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2013. And in May of 2010 Pope Benedict visited Fatima . The Pope Emeritus is linked to Fatima by the very fact that as Cardinal Ratzinger he authored the church’s official explanation of the third Fatima secret (see link below to the actual text of the famous third secret and the commentary of Cardinal Ratzinger). This is all very mysterious to us, but the curious thing about Fatima to me is not so much its mysterious nature but rather the compelling – or should I say overwhelming – objectivity of the final apparition. Really, one would be hard-pressed to doubt that something truly magnificent happened on that amazing day! I am referring to the “miracle of the sun” which occurred on October 13, 1917 in Fatima, Portugal (see directly below an actual photograph of the crowd that day at the Cova da Iria where the miracle took place).
In any event, I gathered up some of my Fatima books and reviewed the compelling facts which point to the validity of the Fatima apparitions. From my own review of the facts it would appear that the following circumstances are established beyond any reasonable doubt:
1. The Fatima children (the seers seen in the photograph above) made known that the Virgin Mary would return to the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917 and that a miracle would take place at that time to authenticate the apparitions;
2. That a huge crowd, most definitely in the tens of thousands, showed up at the Cova that day to see what might take place, and;
3. That (as also reported in the secular press) at the appointed time and place a spectacular solar phenomenon took place which, as the well respected Catholic author Thomas Walsh states, has been established “beyond any doubt” (p. 150, Our Lady of Fatima).
Francis Johnston sets forth many credible testimonies of this solar miracle in his book, Fatima: The Great Sign, including verbatim descriptions of the event from the secular and atheistic press (see chapter 5). In summary, then, the sign promised by the seers to take place on October 13, 1917 did in fact occur. By any reasonable standard of authenticating evidence, the events mentioned above have been firmly and most definitely established. My sense of Fatima is, well, given what took place, pay very close attention to its message.
But the message of Fatima was not an easy one for modern ears, especially with its emphasis on conversion, penance and living an expiatory life-style (in many respects it sounded back to the Gospel message of repent and turn away from sin, reflected not only in John the Baptist and Jesus but in all the writers of the New Testament).
In the strange occurrences following Vatican II, there was a mad rush in certain Catholic circles to redefine Catholicism and, most especially, to rewrite the moral theology text books, with this aim: to make sin, and especially sexual sin, more acceptable. A desperate attempt was made, to varying degrees and progressively, to approve contraception, masturbation, active homosexuality and even abortion (and incredible damage was done to the church, to Catholics and to society by the confusion and immorality which followed, a price we are paying dearly for today).
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit sent us Saint John Paul II, the Fatima Pope, who put the brakes on this mischief (and foul interpretation of Vatican II) by issuing two incredibly important encyclicals: The Splendor of Truth and The Gospel of Life. Even now, given all the harm done, the church is still in recovery mode.
At Fatima, Mary came to us as Our Lady of the Rosary. She came to warn us that God is deeply offended by sin (and our lack of repentance). She offered us the safety and security of her Immaculate heart and, among other things, she urged us to pray the daily rosary. Dear friend, those rosary beads are one of the most powerful weapons we have to turn away from sin, purify our hearts, and draw closer to Jesus. Dear friend, pray the rosary!!
Tom Mulcahy, J.D.
P.S. The new and excellent movie, The 13th Day, is a wonderful way to reappropriate the Fatima message. It is reported that Pope Francis intends to visit Fatima in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions. The lead quote from Cardinal Ratzinger is at page 110 of The Ratzinger Report (Ignatius Press). Here is a link to the official text of The Third Secret of Fatima and the official Vatican commentary on it:
Vatican radio on May 11, 2016 reported the following :”Pope Francis on Wednesday said Our Lady of Fatima “invites us once again to turn to prayer, penance, and conversion.”The Holy Father noted the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is commemorated this year on this Friday (13 May) during his remarks to Polish-speaking pilgrims at his General Audience.“She asks us to never offend God again. She forewarns all humanity about the necessity of abandoning oneself to God, the source of love and mercy,” Pope Francis said.“Following the example of St. John Paul II, a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, let us listen attentively to the Mother of God and ask for peace for the world,” – he continued – “Praised be Jesus Christ!”Thirty-five years ago, Pope St. John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Ağca during the General Audience, which took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981.The saint attributed his survival to Our Lady, and gave one of the bullets used in the attack to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. The bullet was placed in the crown of the statue of the Virgin Mary which is housed at the shrine.”
Photographs: Public Domain, U.S.A. per Wikipedia.
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