“We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete” (Pope Benedict XVI)
May 13 is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, so I offer this short reflection on the continuing relevance of Fatima.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once observed that only those living by faith really understand what is happening in the world. In other words, we must try to interpret what is going on in the world through the eyes of faith. In light of the “great, supernatural facts” of the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, I make the following four observations:
1. The continuing loss of the Christian and Catholic faith in Europe and the United States seems staggering and ongoing (thus increasing dramatically in the Western world “the society of the unbaptized”). This means that atheism and agnosticism are becoming powerful forces in the West, and the prospects for their future growth seems unstoppable.
2. The egregious clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has greatly harmed the Church and is only accelerating # 1. above.
3. The constant and unchangeable teaching of the Catholic Church, that there are absolute moral norms that cannot be violated, is under profound attack even at the highest levels of Church authority, as modernist clergy seek to find ways of accommodation for those who do not accept Catholic teaching (especially) in the area of sexual morality (and allegations of heresy by credible scholars such as the eminent Dominican Father, Aidan Nichols, have arisen) .
4. The incredible and truly remarkable impetus of the LGBT revolution means that the world being presented to our young people is radically different from the Christian world view, especially pertaining to family and sexual ethics (not to mention the fluidity of sexual identity).
In his book, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement Yves Dupont offers the following conclusion:
“I regard it as certain that there will be two different stages. The first stage will only be the beginning of sorrows [see Matt. 24:8], and it will be shortened for the sake of the elect, and the Gospel will then be preached throughout the world. This will be the period of peace under the Great Monarch, the period of conversion and general prosperity which we and our children may enjoy – in short, the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima” (p.91).
Another great scholar of Catholic prophecy, Father Edward Conner, in his book Prophecy for Today, sees the general sequence of prophetic events unfolding in this manner:
A. “Before the Gospel is preached and accepted in all the world, there shall come world wars and insidious doctrines accompanied by widespread persecution.
B. This era shall be terminated by the the direct interference of God destroying the evil systems or persons responsible for the persecutions; and through the leadership of a great civil ruler and a great spiritual leader, a period of peace will come during which nations will hear and accept the true Faith [this period of peace coincides with the Fatima prophecy of a period of peace].”
C. A great apostasy will follow [and Antichrist will come, leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world as set forth in Holy Scripture].”
A seminal and very long book on Catholic prophecy published in 1996, Trial, Tribulation and Triumph, by Desmond A. Birch, generally agrees that there will be a minor chastisement (meaning not the final chastisement at the end of the world), a period of peace, a major chastisement (Antichrist), and then the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
As to the minor chastisement, which will be followed by a period of peace, these are the first three elements in Birch’s long chronology of how it will come about: (1) “At some point in the future, the corrupt faithless age we live in now will come to an end either through inner conversion of sufficient number of people who turn to prayer, sacrifice, and penance,—or there will be a chastisement. This would be a Minor Chastisement preceding the Age of Peace. St Louis de Montfort described this Age of Peace as the Age of Mary. (2) If this chastisement is not averted through conversion, the Latin Church will be afflicted by heresy and schism. (3) The chastising elements will come in two forms, (a) man made and (b) Heaven-sent” (page 553). Following his description of this minor chastisement, Birch goes on to describe the period of peace which will result, and then the rise of Antichrist and the end of the world.
A key insight of Birch is that the minor chastisement prophesied at Fatima (if not averted by prayer and penance) will come by way of heresy and schism entering the Church.
The second secret of Fatima, given to the seers on July 13, 1917, coincides with the general prophetic understanding of a chastisement and then a coming period of peace. It states (as verbatim from the Vatican website) the following:
“You have seen hell [the children’s vision of hell is the first secret] where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Saint John Paul II was known as the “Fatima Pope,” devoting himself profoundly to the Fatima message following his having been shot and almost killed in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 (the anniversary of the first apparition of Mary at Fatima). Sister Lucia, the Fatima seer, confirmed that Pope John Paul II’s 1984 consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had been “accepted by Heaven” (see Fatima for Today, p.260). On May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II spoke the following words during a homily given in Fatima, Portugal:
“In the light of a mother’s love we understand the whole message of the Lady of Fátima. The greatest obstacle to man’s journey towards God is sin, perseverance in sin, and, finally, denial of God. The deliberate blotting out of God from the world of human thought. The detachment from him of the whole of man’s earthly activity. The rejection of God by man…. [He] reads it again with trepidation in his heart, because he sees how many people and societies—how many Christians—have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fátima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings.”
Russia’s error, the attempt to construct a society without reference to God, is spreading rapidly to the West. The future of Christianity is under profound attack. Can the Church meet this challenge? Or will it submit, more and more, to the spirit of the world?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration,
Thomas L. Mulcahy, M.A.
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