The Third Secret and the Vatican documents

The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”…  So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death. (John 11:47-48, 53)

May 12, 2017                                                                                                                                     The Memorial of Saints Nereus, Achilleus, & Pancras

Seventeen years ago now, in the late spring and early summer of the year 2000, there was a flurry of statements from some very notable Church officials concerning the Fatima Apparitions and the famous Third Secret.  These statements were all cobbled together by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and released on June 26, 2000 under the title The Message of Fatima and can be read here.  I urge you to read these documents because they have cast a shadow over the discussion of Fatima within the Church for almost two decades now.

First, these documents are not the product of a single author, but rather three men produced this thing, and Pope Saint John Paul II (who was reigning at the time) was not among them.  The authors were Archbishop (now Cardinal) Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli the then Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Angelo Cardinal Sodano the then Secretary of State of the Vatican City State, and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

These are strange documents issued by men who at that time had no authority to do what they were doing and it shows.

1) Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone

The first task of Archbishop Bertone seemed to be to convince Catholics that there was no longer any need for the Consecration of Russia.  In fact he went so far as to claim that Pope John Paul II had done it sixteen years before, even though the Holy Father had never made that claim himself.  To understand this we have to remember that in the year 2000 the Berlin Wall had been down for ten years and the world seemed to be at peace.  The Soviet Empire and indeed the Soviet Union itself had long since disappeared and there was not even any reason to think about Russia anymore.  These were the first days of Vladimir Putin’s presidency and the country seemed a basket case.

So Archbishop Bertone put the first dagger in the heart of the Fatima message: Russia had already been consecrated and the fall of the Berlin Wall proved it.  He cited a universal consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that Pope Saint John Paul II conducted on March 25, 1984 and said that this was the long awaited consecration that everyone had been hoping for.  He even provided the text of that prayer and no one seemed to notice that there was one word that Pope Saint John Paul II never used when making that consecration that day: Russia.  Read the prayer at the above link to the CDF documents and tell me if you see that word anywhere.

Archbishop Bertone also produced a single sentence from a much ballyhooed letter from Sister Lucia to Pope John Paul II where she says: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984.”  The curious thing about that letter is that it is dated November 8, 1989.  Do you remember what was going on in the world on November 8, 1989?  Massive demonstrations in all the major cities of East Germany forced the government to resign that day.  The Soviet Union was refusing to intervene as she had done in past uprisings against the Eastern Bloc governments and the next day the Berlin Wall came down.  Possibly Sister Lucia was just as caught up in the euphoria as everyone else on the planet.  She was only human after all.

And everyone bought it.  But to understand why they were so easily convinced of this thing we have to remember what the world looked like in the spring of 2000.  We forget now how good things looked at that time. The Berlin Wall had been down for a decade and the September 11 attacks had not happened yet.  The global economy was booming in the first flush of globalization and the internet age.  The European Union was in the process of implementing the new common currency, the Euro, that promised to bind the nations of that continent so tightly together that war could never erupt there again.  Peace was even threatening to break out in the Middle East.  Israel had withdrawn from south Lebanon a month before, ending an 18 year long disastrous adventure there, and Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were set to go to Camp David two weeks after the release of the Fatima documents to make a final peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Times were good, and they were going to stay that way.  We don’t need to worry about Fatima and all that doom and gloom stuff anymore.

The second task of Archbishop Bertone was to dispense with the Third Secret.  This was really the third part of a single secret delivered to the children on July 13, 2017.  The first part was the vision of hell, and the second was the prophecy of the Second World War and the request for the consecration of Russia, and the third part– well nobody knew what the third part of the Secret was.  It was written down by Lucia on order of the Bishop of Leira in 1944 and placed in a sealed envelope which was kept by him until it was transferred to the Archive of the Holy Office in 1957.  Sister had by her own volition written not to open it before 1960 on the envelope.  Pope John XXIII looked at the envelope in 1959 and decided to send it back unopened.  Pope Paul VI read the contents in 1965 and decided not to release it.  Pope John Paul II read it after the attempt on his life in 1981 and again decided not to release it.  But in 2000 these men, ostensibly with the Pope’s approval, were going to release and interpret the thing.

The only hint to the contents of the Secret were two little tidbits that Lucia had written in her memoir.  Regarding the July 13, 1917 Apparition the only thing that she tells us that the Blessed Virgin said about that last part of the Secret was this: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc…  Do not tell this to anybody.  Francisco, yes, you may tell him.”  The ‘etc…’ would tend to indicate that the Blessed Virgin completed that statement with words, wouldn’t it?  Remember that.

I will save the second tidbit until after we see to the Third Secret.  By the year 2000 the Third Secret had long since acquired a mythological status among Catholics.  It was a great mystery known to every Catholic and every Catholic worth his salt had a theory about what it was.  If Fatima was ever going to be “part of the past,” as Cardinals Sodano and Ratzinger declared in these documents that it was, then the Third Secret had to be dispensed with.  So they mentioned several times, too many times if you ask me, in these documents that the Third Secret would therein be published in its entirety, and here is what they published:

“J.M.J.

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who commanded me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

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: ‘PenancePenancePenance!’.  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 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.

Tuy-3-1-1944″

That is no secret.  By itself there was no need to keep it secret for more than half a century.   If this is all that it was then what precisely was it that stopped Pope Paul VI or Pope John Paul II from releasing this in 1965 or in 1981?

I confess that I was not much of a Catholic in the year 2000 and these things made little impression on me.  I am not entirely certain that I was even aware of this while it was going on.  However I do not doubt that there might have been people who were devoted to Our Lady of Fatima and, on seeing this, began to doubt whether the Message was really all that important after all and just threw up their hands and walked away.  And of course that was the whole idea of the people who perpetrated this thing.

I have no doubt that this vision formed a part of the Fatima Secret, but it wasn’t the whole thing; it simply could not have been the whole thing.  Lucia wrote in her memoir that the Virgin told them “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc… Do not tell this to anybody.  Francisco, yes, you may tell him.”  She told them something.  Remember that Lucia and Jacinta could both hear the Virgin, but Francisco could only see her.  If this vision had been all that it was then Lucia would not have had to tell Francisco anything because he would have seen it himself.

And then there is the matter of the dogma of the Faith in Portugal.  That line is absolutely not commented on at all in any of these documents.  It is one of two glaring omissions.  The only reference to it is in footnote number 7 where the anonymous footnote writer says this:

In the “Fourth Memoir” Sister Lucia adds: “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc…”.

What do you mean ‘Sister Lucia adds’?  Were you there?  No.  You weren’t.  But Sister Lucia was most definitely there and she was the only one alive who knew exactly what the Virgin said.  Are you saying that Sister Lucia made this up and added it later?  Is that the idea you are trying to worm into peoples’ minds?  And if Sister Lucia made this part up then the whole thing is open to question isn’t it?  Oh this type is so clever…

So after all this we still do not know what the third part of the Secret is.  We know that there was that vision associated with it but we do not know the context.  We don’t know what the Virgin said save “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc…”  But what does that mean?

If the Blessed Mother is speaking about the preservation of dogma in one place it can be taken as a clear indication that it will not be preserved in others.  Some sort of general apostasy seems to be being prophesied here.  This should not be surprising since all the groundwork for such a thing has been laid up and down various Church institutions throughout all of our lives.  In fact a soft apostasy is the day to day experience of most Catholics in the world.  But it has not yet reached the point where anyone is threatening to chop off your head if you do not fall down on your face before their false god or their false christ.  And the notion of apostasy helps make sense of the vision.  The Church is often described as a city in Sacred Scripture.  A half ruined city, corpses (i.e. souls dead in sin), bishops and priests and even the Holy Father himself being taken out.  You do the math.  Such a thing is prophesied to happen before the end with the rise of the great false prophet, the second beast rising up from the earth, who is helpmate to the antiChrist in the Book of Revelation.

Many people take the line “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved;” as an indication that somehow Portugal will be kept safe from whatever is to come.   I wouldn’t be so quick to do that.  Sister Lucia was very irregular with her punctuation and it would be unwise to take that semicolon as a full stop.  We do not know what the conclusion to that thought was.  It could have been “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved in such and such a town or such and such a monastery,” or it could have been “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved among people who pray the Rosary every day or people who consecrate themselves to my Immaculate Heart” or a million other possibilities.

2) Angelo Cardinal Sodano

Cardinal Sodano was called upon at an address he gave following the Papal Mass at Fatima on May 13, 2000 to make the interpretation that the above related vision was fulfilled in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981.  It pains me to say this about a Prince of the Church, but that is ridiculous.

As if the Queen of Heaven would come to earth to prophesy and to warn of a terrible World War, show a vision of Hell, warn of the annihilation of nations, but the real reason that she came and what she told the children must at all costs be kept secret from anybody and everybody was that sixty four years later some one would attempt to assassinate the Pope.

Popes have often been assassinated.  During the first three centuries every Pope was martyred.  Pope Pius VI was kidnapped by the armies of the French Revolution who were sacking Rome and trying to destroy the Papacy as an institution in 1798 and marched off to France where he died of maltreatment in captivity at Valence a year and a half later.  That did not merit a special warning from Heaven.  Why should this merit one, and sixty four years in advance?

This sold at the time because John Paul II was very highly regarded by many Catholics who thought he showed great courage during that ordeal and believed he was instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall.  We all felt that it was providential that he hadn’t been killed that day in Saint Peter’s Square, so the ground had already been prepared for many people to buy into something like this.  But, in the vision the Pope dies, which John Paul II did not.  End of story.

3) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

I was a big fan of Pope Benedict XVI and was very sorry to see his papacy end the way it did.  I am forever grateful to him for Summorum Pontificum and for the restoration of the ancient Latin liturgy to the life of the Church.  I do not like what he did on this day when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger though.

He meanders through an overly long discourse on private vs. public revelation touching on Church History and psychology and the interior lives of children while ignoring the most important aspects of the events at Fatima.  He speaks as if the events at Fatima were simply interior experiences of the three children.  He speaks as if no one was standing on that holmoak, even though eyewitnesses saw the boughs bend.  He never in his entire discussion mentions the abundance of evidence that 70,000 people saw the sun dance on the Cova da Iria.

Even though his helpmate Archbishop Bertone stated at the outset of these documents that

Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions.  The first and second parts of the “secret”– which are here published in sequence so as to complete the documentation– refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.

Cardinal Ratzinger discounts the prophetic nature of the vision reported as part of the Third Secret saying that “The purpose of the vision is not to show an irrevocably fixed future.  Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.”  Fine, but what are these “forces of change”?  Communion of Reparation, Consecration of Russia, Penance.  Everything that your cronies in this enterprise are trying to drive people away from.

I have been overly long on this topic and I will conclude here on the saddest note.  Commenting on the vision the future Pope Benedict XVI states that

The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.

He didn’t believe.  If Lucia got any part of these Apparitions from devotional books, and she was questioned repeatedly on that subject as a child, then the whole thing is open to question.  If this is what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger really thought about Fatima, if he thought that it was somehow or other the product of childish imagination, then that might explain why Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy ended the way it did.

While all of these high Church officials were saying these strange things about her Sister Lucia remained silent in her convent in Coimbra, always obedient to the Church.  She died in peace five years later and Our Lady took her to Heaven; while these three men linger on in a world that is darkening by the hour.

Blessed Jacinta Marto

But as to that second little tidbit that was recorded in Sister Lucia’s memoir about the Secret it goes like this.  She records in her first volume this exchange between herself, Jacinta’s mother and Jacinta after Blessed Jacinta had fallen ill on p. 45 of Fatima in Lucia’s own words

One day my aunt made this request: “Ask Jacinta what she is thinking, when she covers her face with her hands and remains motionless for such a long while.  I’ve already asked her, but she just smiles and does not answer.”  I put the question to Jacinta.

“I think of Our Lord,” she replied, “of Our Lady, of sinners, and of… (and she mentioned certain parts of the Secret).  I love to think.”

This may be the greatest revelation we will ever get about the Third Secret of Fatima outside of its fulfillment: there was something in that Secret that made soon to be Saint Jacinta Marto smile.

The Request for the Consecration of Russia

But tidings from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go forth with great fury to exterminate and utterly destroy many.  And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him (Daniel 11:44-45).

May 11, 2017

On July 13, 1917 the Blessed Virgin informed the children that the day would come when she would ask the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.  Eleven years and eleven months later on June 13, 1929 she came to Sister Lucia in the Dorothean convent in Tuy, Spain to make this request.

The text here was copied from her notes by her confessor at the time Rev. Fr. José Bernardo Gonçalves, S.J. and is reported in Appendix II of Fatima in Lucia’s own words pp. 201-02:

Rev. Fr. Gonçalves sometimes came to our chapel to hear confessions.  I went to confession to him and, as I felt at ease with him, I continued to do so for the three years that he remained here as Assistant to the Fr. Provincial.

It was at this time that Our Lady informed me that the moment had come in which she wished me to make known to Holy Church her desire for the Consecration of Russia, and her promise to convert it.  The communication was as follows:

13-6-1929. I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o’clock until midnight, every Thursday to Friday.  Being alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel.  Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a cross.  The only light was that of the sanctuary lamp.  Suddenly the whole chapel was illumined by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a cross of light, reaching to the ceiling.  In a brighter light on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist, upon his breast was a dove also of light and nailed to the cross was the body of another man.  A little below the waist, I could see a chalice and a large host suspended in the air, on to which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side.  These drops ran down on to the host and fell into the chalice.  Beneath the right arm of the cross was Our Lady and in her hand was her Immaculate Heart.  (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames).  Under the left arm of the cross, large letters, as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: “Grace and Mercy.”

I understood that it was the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal.

Our Lady then said to me:

The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.  There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask for reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.”

I gave an account of this to the confessor, who ordered me to write down what Our Lady wanted done.

Later, in an intimate communication, Our Lord complained to me, saying:

“They did not wish to heed my request!… Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late.  Russia will have already spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars, and persecutions of the Church: the Holy Father will have much to suffer.”

First a word about the setting.  It is interesting to see that this occurred during while Sister Lucia was making a Holy Hour on Thursday night from 11pm to midnight at the start of Friday.  This practice was introduced, or perhaps reintroduced, into the life of the Church by the revelations to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Sacred Heart a quarter of a millennium before.  The saint was instructed to practice this devotion in honor of Our Lord’s Agony in Gethsemane between the close of the Last Supper and his arrest in that garden: the start of his Passion.  And if you check you will find that June 13, 1929 was a Thursday.  Just an interesting little tidbit for our contemplation.

What is being requested here is an Act of Faith, a very pronounced, very public Act of Faith.  And in this age that we live in which is almost universally godless that is not easy.  But the question is ultimately very simple: do we believe or do we not believe?

This request once it was handed to the Holy Father Pope Pius XI by whatever intermediary brought it must have produced a knot in his gut, a shaking in his joints, and a confusion in his mind similar to that which we experience when we are called upon to make the Sign of the Cross and bless ourselves before a meal in a crowded restaurant at a table full of our carousing friends or acquaintances or business associates, except that it would have been to the power of about twelve million.

The world was in crisis in 1929.  Russia had been in the hands of the Bolsheviks for more than a decade and reports from inside that country must have been flowing to Pius XI for a long time about the atrocities they were committing and the general annihilation of the Church in that country since 1917.  The Bolsheviks were also setting up advance guards and revolutionary cells across Europe and threatening to overthrow governments in every country on earth.  As a result fascist movements rose up from the gutter of society promising to defend the people from Communism and to fight terror with terror.  The flock was under serious threat and what was left of Christian civilization seemed like it was about to be laid waste.

The Church was now looked upon as nothing more than a superstitious laughingstock by the governments and societal elites and large segments of the urbanized working class in those countries that she founded so long ago and had sustained through so many grievous trials in the past.  And now here comes this Portuguese nun telling the Pope that she had a vision at a convent in Spain referring her back to something that had happened in a field when she was ten years old and oh by the way he was now supposed to get all of the bishops of the world together to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and all of our problems would be solved.  Just like that.

Fine, but what if she is making this up, or is delusional, or doesn’t remember right.  Sure Pius XI must have heard something about the sun dancing in October, 1917 but that was twelve years ago, and it wasn’t widely known outside of Portugal.  For some curious reason the international press never decided to cover it.  So fine, what if I, Pope Pius XI, decide to unite with all of the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary– and nothing happens?

What if all  I hear is laughter from Moscow and from Berlin and from Mussolini’s Blackshirts in Rome?  What kind of position would the Church be in then?  And then once Pope Pius XI makes the decision not to do it why would any of his successors want to make him look bad by contradicting him?

These are the games the devil can play with your mind, you know it and I know it.  Pray for the Holy Father.  Pray that he unite with all the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The hour is late, very late: we need to pray and sacrifice for this intention and we need to start yesterday.

The Great Promise of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him the morning star. (Rev. 2:26, 28)

May 10, 2017                                                                                                                                 The Memorial of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai

Time passed after the Miracle of the Sun and the world went through its revolutions.  Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco were swept up in the Spanish flu epidemic in late 1918 and as Our Lady had told the children on June 13, 1917 both of them were soon gone to Heaven: Francisco in April, 1919 and Jacinta in February, 1920.  They were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000 and will be canonized by Pope Francis this Saturday May 13, 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first Apparition.

Lucia was now alone in the world.  But Our Lady did not leave her.  The young Lucia would become a religious sister in the early 1920s joining the Sisters of St. Dorothy.  After beginning her life in the convent at Pontevedra, Spain she recorded further Apparitions of Our Lord and Our Lady.  Remember that on July 13, 1917 Our Lady informed the children that she would be coming to ask for the Communion of Reparation and for the Consecration of Russia.  She was not asking for them that day, but she was informing the children, and Lucia most especially that she would be coming in the future to ask for these things.

I give here Lucia’s account of how this came about, in this post it will be specifically relating to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Communion of Reparation.  Sister Lucia chose to write this account largely in the third person i.e. she uses ‘she’ to refer to herself.  So here it is from Appendix I of Sister Lucia’s memoir, pp. 196-97 of Fatima in Lucia’s own words:

On December 17th, 1927, she went before the tabernacle to ask Jesus how she should comply with what had been asked of her, that is, to say if the origin of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was included in the Secret that the most holy Virgin had confided to her.

Jesus made her hear very distinctly these words: “My daughter, write what they ask of you.  Write also all that the most holy Virgin revealed to you in the Apparition, in which she spoke of this devotion.  As for the remainder of the Secret, continue to keep silence.”

What was confided on this subject in 1917, is as follows:

She asked for them to be taken to heaven, and the most holy Virgin answered: “Yes.  I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  But you are to stay here some time longer.  Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.  I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and these souls will be loved God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”

“Am I to stay here all alone?” she asked, sadly.

“No, daughter.  I shall never forsake you.  My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

On December 10th, 1925, the most holy Virgin appeared to her, and by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child.  The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand.  At the same time, the Child said:

“Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”

Then the most holy Virgin said:

“Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude.  You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

Herein lies the Great Promise of the greatest and most marvelous and most wondrous thing in all Creation: the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This is the way that will lead you to God.  This is the dwelling place that God created for Himself and it is our refuge in this perilous time as we traverse these darkening and storm tossed seas.

Practice the First Saturday devotion to the extent you can.  It is a simple and easy thing that we can do to warm the Divine Heart of our Savior and to make reparation to the wounded Heart of his most holy Mother.

Some questions may arise on how to practice this devotion.  First, you do not have to make Confession on the First Saturday.  Jesus told Sister Lucia in a later Apparition on February 15th, 1926 that it was possible to confess eight days before or after the First Saturday, provided that one is not conscious of any mortal sin when they receive Him on the First Saturday and the first bishop of Fatima Dom Jose Correia da Silva confirmed this in 1940.

Second, the last bit about keeping the Blessed Mother company “for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary” is open to interpretation as to how one might practice it.  First, this Apparition took place in 1925, almost eighty years before Pope Saint John Paul II made his recommendation about the new Luminous Mysteries so quite understandably the Blessed Virgin did not mention twenty, but fifteen.

But as to how to practice this aspect of the devotion Bishop da Silva stated in 1940 that “it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month.”  And this makes sense.  My own personal practice is to select a portion of the Gospel or the Acts of the Apostles or some other part of Sacred Scripture that pertains to a different Mystery each month.

The promises of Our Lady are great indeed to those who faithfully practice this devotion.  Do it.

The aftermath of October 13, 1917

Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

May 3, 2017                                                                                                                                   The Feast of the Apostles Saints Phillip and James

In the weeks immediately following the day the sun danced before 70,000 astonished witnesses who fell on their faces and implored the Mercy of God in the Cova da Iria two events occurred in the world which would in time fundamentally alter the worldview of everyone who went by the name of Christian.  They collapsed the last pillars of what had been the worldly foundation of the Christian order and sowed horrible seeds of confusion that have borne and continue to bear malignant fruit throughout the Church and the world to this day.

1) The Russian Revolution

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on the night of November 7-8, 1917, three and one half weeks after the Miracle of the Sun, it was the end of an era.  It was the end of the false peace which had prevailed in Europe since Napoleon Bonaparte had overthrown the French Directory on November 9, 1799.  Between 1799 and 1917 the peoples of Europe nourished in their breast in varying degrees the delusion that Christ and Belial could coexist and they were wrong.

The governments of that period did not produce any Robespierres who set up guillotines to butcher priests and nuns and bishops and make the streets run with their blood.  No, these were civilized men.  All the issues were debated responsibly in the newly formed and much exalted at the time popular legislative bodies.  These men calmly proposed and gently cajoled and thoughtfully persuaded their colleagues to vote on and to pass laws that at first slowly put an onerous tax burden on Church property, imposed mandatory military service on the clergy, and little by little removed the Church from the role she had in educating the young.  And the people for the most part went along with it.  They wanted all the high sounding rhetoric of 1789 about the ‘rights of man,’ but refused to remember the barbaric terrorism of 1793.

They thought that they could retain the fruits of Christian civilization while they little by little pushed the Catholic Church first to the sidelines and then completely out of their national lives.  They thought that the teachings of the Church could be ignored and yet they would continue to receive the blessings of civilization which she had first bestowed on their barbarian ancestors so long before.  They thought that they could boldly proclaim that man was free to worship any god he wished or no god at all and yet somehow they would continue to live under the protection of the God who had given life to both themselves and their nations.  They were wrong.

God was merciful and patient with them.  He sent them some of the greatest popes in the history of the Church to warn them of the perilous path they were on.  Blessed Pius IX and Leo XIII (read any of his encyclicals here) spent the entirety of both of their extremely long papacies that spanned the period 1846-1903 warning the peoples of Europe at the top of their lungs not to fall into the trap that was being set for them.  They never listened.  He sent them what was at the time the most terrible war in human history starting in 1914 to make them see the consequences of the path they had pursued.  They did not repent.  On October 13, 1917 the sun danced in Portugal to show them that indeed there was a God and that He was in fact paying attention.  They did not hear.  On the night of November 7-8, 1917 his patience ended and He gave to the children of Adam their hearts’ desire.

A radical movement of men whose sole purpose for existing seemed to be the annihilation of even the memory of God from the mind of the human race at first seized control of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, then the city of Petrograd, then the Russian government itself, and then after a long and bloody civil war gained control over the largest country on earth.  They established the first militantly atheistic regime in human history.  And they did not go away.

Unlike the quasi atheistic French revolutionary governments of the 1790s this regime endured.  They simply murdered anyone in that vast territory who would, could, or one day might even think of opposing them.  Mass graves are still being stumbled into all over Russia  The Church in Russia was not merely suppressed, it was annihilated.  And they made sure there would be no going back.

The secret societies who had fomented the French Revolution 130 years before knew that they had tried for too much too soon in those days and had caused a terrible reaction that was inimical to their interests.  They did not make that mistake again.  They exhibited a diabolical patience likely forced on them by necessity during the nineteenth century.  They were able to influence legislative bodies to push the Church out of her role educating the young and replace her with their own members or sympathizers.  They struck from the shadows and planned and plotted in dark corners and spewed their venom over the whole earth.  With each successive generation the role of the Church and of God assumed less importance in the lives of people and in the life of the nation, and by the turn of the twentieth century the very Existence of God was treated by societal elites (and sadly by more than a few clergy) as a mere philosophical proposition.  When 1917 rolled around there remained very few men of influence in the world who had the will to fight this thing.  Finally they were ready to strike.

Once their position in Russia was secure they founded their new state, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and used the enormous resources of that country to fund state institutions that aligned themselves with like minded movements abroad to foment atheistic revolution in various forms throughout the world while starving the Russian people.  By the time the USSR finally died out three quarters of a century after the Miracle of the Sun atheism had become the guiding principle of most peoples’ lives throughout the formerly Christian world.  Sure, some of them might say they are ‘christian’ or that they believe in some notion of God or another, or they may even go to a building on Sunday to sing some songs with other people who also claimed to be ‘christian,’ but all of that has had very little effect on how they live their lives.  And in Europe which had once been the seed ground of the Catholic Church and for more than a millennium had seen her as the foundation of her existence they do not even do that.  Russia will spread her errors throughout the world.

2) The taking of Jerusalem

On December 9, 1917, fifty-seven days after the Miracle of the Sun, the British Army under the command of General Sir Edmund Allenby took control of Jerusalem, seizing it from the Ottoman Turks.  Thus ended 673 years of continuous Muslim control of the holy city stretching back to August 23, 1244 and the fall of the last Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Khwarezmian Turks.  But the men who seized it in 1917 were no longer Christians.

By 1917 the British people had been separated from the Church of Rome for almost four centuries.  And even what Christianity remained among the Anglicans was rapidly waning as those isles became subsumed in the vast materialistic wave that came with a global empire.  By 1917 the religion of the British Empire was the British Empire: an empire that would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Read an excerpt from General Allenby’s proclamation when he entered the city:

Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.

Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel’s Tomb.  The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.

The hereditary custodians at the gates of the Holy Sepulchre have been requested to take up their accustomed duties in remembrance of the magnanimous act of the Caliph Omar, who protected that church.

One can understand the need to maintain peace in the city, but are these the words of a Christian?  Would Richard the Lionheart have made this ridiculous statement?  Was that city only sanctified by “prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions”?  Did not something else happen there that made General Allenby’s ancestors walk on their knees to do penance in that holy place?  Did not the Eternal Word Himself take flesh and sacrifice Himself to redeem us from our sins on a hill in that city?  Did not He rise from the dead in that city?  Does any of that matter?

If it was only the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes from three different religions who are diametrically opposed to each other on the most important question of human existence that ‘sanctified’ this place then who cares?  If that is all it is then your local city landfill is of much more use to you than Jerusalem.  This proclamation is a supreme example of the religious indifferentism that had been destroying Europe since the French Revolution and it is why British rule of the Holy Land failed so miserably.  But why is this important to us?

The British conquest of the Holy Land and the subsequent failure of its rule opened the door to the return of the Jews to control the land for the first time in nineteen centuries.  The nationalist tide that had been rising up in Europe since 1789 swept up the Jews and gave birth to the Zionist movement in the latter part of the nineteenth century.  They saw the British advance toward Palestine as Our Lady was making her final Apparition in Fatima in the fall of 1917 as a once in a millennium opportunity and took full advantage of it.

During the British rule of Palestine the Jewish population dramatically increased and after the Second World War the sympathy generated by the Nazi massacre of six million Jews in Europe led to the British evacuation of Palestine, its partition, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.  Nineteen years later in 1967 the Israeli Army conquered the whole land and brought the whole of Jerusalem under Jewish control for the first time since they days of the Apostles.  But why is this important?

Since the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 and the final mass expulsion of Jews from the Holy Land by the Emperor Hadrian sixty years later the Church had had something tangible to point to when proclaiming that the Old Covenant had been fulfilled and the New Covenant had superseded it.  The pagan Emperor Domitian had even done her the favor of carving into stone on the Arch of his brother Titus (who had been the one to destroy the Jewish Temple) in the city of Rome a memorial of that event that still remains with us to this day:

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One finds this consistently mentioned by Christian apologists from the earliest Fathers until the end of the nineteenth century and everywhere in between.  This was their visible, tangible proof.  The Jews had been expelled from the land and had never returned.  The Temple had been destroyed and never rebuilt.  The sacrifice of bulls and goats had ceased and never recommenced.  The priesthood of Aaron was dead and gone and replaced forever by the Catholic priesthood.  There were clear and visible signs: it was an easy argument to make.

But on December 9, 1917 the British Army conquered Palestine.  The Jewish population of the land multiplied greatly.  In 1948 the Jews in Palestine declared the State of Israel.  In 1967 the Israeli army conquered Jerusalem and put the Jews in control of the city for the first time since the days of the Apostles.  That argument became less easy to make, and those of weak faith have begun to waver.  The identity of the Catholic Church as the New Israel, which she is, has become less easy to express in these days in the minds of some.  Strange and highly destructive theologies such as the ‘dual covenant’ theory have emerged.

The Jews are once again masters of the holy city, masters of the temple mount.  And the presence of the Al Aqsa Mosque in that place and the fear of a massive Muslim retaliation is probably the only thing that prevents them from attempting to rebuild the ancient Temple.  There is a movement afoot in Israel, a small minority movement but a very passionate minority, to rebuild that Temple no matter what the cost.  The political situation in the wider Middle East is so chaotic right now that we have no idea what things will look like tomorrow, much less next month or next year.  Who can say what will happen there?  This monument to the designs of that sect stands above the Western Wall plaza probably less than a thousand feet from where the Holy of Holies once stood:

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Taken August 2, 2011

Yet the Truth is still the Truth.  What was true in 1917 AD and was true in 917 AD and was true in 517 AD and was true in 117 AD is still true in 2017 AD.  He who lives in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church is something greater if I may say so that He who was present in the ancient Holy of Holies.  The One in the tabernacle is both God and Man.  He is the Word made flesh and He dwells among us.

We live in very strange times where illusions and delusions lurk around every corner and are constantly reaching out to strangle the best of us.  Pray and keep watch.  The Faith of the ancients is still the Truth, even if appearances have changed.  After all, while Our Lord did prophesy that the Jews would be driven from Jerusalem, He also prophesied that they would come back.  And if anything ever does get built in Jerusalem it will be starkly empty of any Divine Presence.  All this is merely a sign of the times.

Pray.  Pray very much.  Pray the Rosary every day.  Never lose consciousness of God.  Our Lady has given us at Fatima a way through this catastrophe: her Immaculate Heart.

The declaration of a common Baptism between Rome and Alexandria

April 28, 2017                                                                                                                                 The Memorial of Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort

I wanted to interrupt my discussion of the great Apparition of October 13, 1917 at Fatima to share with you a bit of good news that just came out of Egypt during the last few hours: the Holy Father Pope Francis, Successor of Saint Peter, has signed a joint declaration with His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, in Cairo recognizing for the first time in much more than almost sixteen centuries that there is a common Baptism shared between the Church of Rome and the Church of Alexandria.

The whole declaration can be read here, but the operative language runs like this:

The mystery of Jesus who died and rose out of love lies at the heart of our journey towards full unity.  Once again, the martyrs are our guides.  In the early Church the blood of the martyrs was the seed of new Christians.  So too in our own day, may the blood of so many martyrs be the seed of unity among all Christ’s disciples, a sign and instrument of communion and peace for the world.

In obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies the Church, keeps her throughout the ages, and leads her to full unity – that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed:

      Today we, Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II, in order to please the heart of the Lord Jesus, as well as that of our sons and daughters in the faith, mutually declare that we will not repeat the baptism that had been administered in either of our Churches for any person who wishes to join the other.  This we confess in obedience to the Holy Scriptures and the faith of the three Ecumenical Councils assembled in Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus.

       We ask God our Father to guide us, in the times and by the means that the Holy Spirit will choose, to full unity in the mystical Body of Christ.

While the distance between this declaration and full Communion between the ancient Sees of Saint Mark and of Saint Peter is known only to God, this is good news.  Good news in a darkening world.  Please include a prayer of thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is our common Mother, sometime today.  And don’t forget that her title Mother of God that we now say so easily and take so much for granted had once, a very long time ago, to be defended against a monstrous attack waged against her; and her most stalwart defenders in that troubled time came from the Church of Alexandria.  And the Mother of God, the great Θεοτόκος, never forgets a good turn done to her, whatever disasters the intervening years, decades, centuries, or millennia bring.

The Apparition of October 13, 1917 and the Miracle of the Sun

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Luke 21:25-26).

April 27, 2017

I will begin here with an excerpt from William Thomas Walsh’s Our Lady of Fatima (pp. 142-44) where he describes the journey of the children and their parents from Aljustrel to the Cova da Iria and the moments that passed just prior to the Apparition:

It was a long and slow journey.  The highroad was crowded all the way from Fátima to Cova da Iria.  Men and women were kneeling in the thick slime on both sides, imploring their prayers.  Hands reached out to touch them.  Wet burros brushed against them.  Umbrellas threatened to poke out their eyes.  But what a sight when at last they arrived near the scene of the apparitions!  Fully 70,000 men, women, and children, people of all ages and conditions, were standing patiently in the rain waiting for them-a dark mass under innumerable black umbrellas, dripping sombreros, soaked blankets.  They were packed so densely between the highway and the azinheira that the children were able to get through only with the help of a chauffeur, who seized Jacinta and mounted her on his shoulder, crying, “Make way for the children who saw Our Lady!”

Ti Marto followed with Lucia and Francisco.  When they reached the place of the apparitions, he was surprised to find his wife already there.  He had forgotten her in his anxiety for Jacinta.  “My Olimpia turned up from another direction, I don’t know from where,” he confesses.

At all events there she was close to the stump of the azinheira, which Maria Carreira had lovingly draped, along with her alms table, under garlands of flowers.  The crowd lurched and swayed this way and that, ducked umbrellas, huddled together for warmth, scanned the leaden eastern sky.  Loud voices were repeating the Rosary in various rhythmical cadences.  A priest who had been praying all night in the rain and mud was reading his breviary and from time to time nervously fingering his watch.  Presently he turned to the children and asked at what hour Our Lady was going to arrive.

“At midday,” replied Lucia.

He glanced at his watch again, and said, disapprovingly: “It is midday already.  Our Lady is not a liar.  We shall see.”

Nearly all the people now were saying the Rosary. “Avé, Maria, cheia de graça… Santa Maria, Mãi de Deus, rogai por nos pecadores…”

“Put down your umbrellas!” cried Lucia-why she never knew-and one after another they obeyed, although the rain was still falling.  “Put down your umbrellas!” said one after another.  They all stood patiently in the rain.

A few minutes more passed.  The priest looked at his watch again.

“Midday is past,” he said with gloomy finality.  “Away with all this!  It is an illusion.”

He began to push the three children with his hands, if we may trust the memory of Maria Carreira.  But Lucia, almost in tears, refused to budge, saying.

“Whoever wants to go, can go, but I’m not going.  Our Lady told us to come.  We saw her other times and we’re going to see her now.”

Disappointed murmurs and grumblings began to be heard among the bystanders.  Then of a sudden Lucia looked toward the east and cried:

“Jacinta, kneel down, for now I see Our Lady there.  I can see the flash!”

“Watch out daughter!”  It was the shrill voice of Maria Rosa.  “Don’t let yourself be deceived!”

Lucia did not hear the warning.  Those near her noticed that her face had become flushed and transparently beautiful.  She was gazing rapturously now at the Lady herself, who stood in a flood of white light on the flowers that Maria Carreira had draped on the stump of the azinheira.  Jacinta and Francisco, on either side of her, stared likewise, both radiant, both quite oblivious of the multitude around them.

I will continue with the account of this Apparition here for Sister Lucia’s account in Volume IV of her memoir, as published in the 1998 version of Fatima in Lucia’s own words (pp. 177-79):

A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

“What do you want of me?”

“I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour.  I am the Lady of the Rosary.  Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.  The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

“I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…”

“Some yes, but not others.  They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.”

Looking very sad, Our Lady said:

“Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”

Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.

Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun.  My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence.  I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun.  St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.  When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours.  Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done.  This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.

The Miracle of the Sun

The three children were enraptured with the vision of Our Lady, and Lucia in particular with the last phase of the Apparition with the appearance of St. Joseph and Our Lord and Our Lady in her various manifestations, and they did not see the Miracle of the Sun.  But it was not meant for them to see.  It was meant for those 70,000 in the Cova da Iria.  Here is how William Thomas Walsh describes this great miracle on pp. 145-46 of Our Lady of Fatima:

What they all did see, however, was something stupendous, unheard of, almost apocalyptic.  The sun stood forth in the clear zenith like a great silver disk which, though bright as any sun they had ever seen, they could look straight at without blinking, and with a unique and delightful satisfaction.  This lasted but a moment.  While they gazed, the huge ball began to “dance”-that was the word all the beholders applied to it.  Now it was whirling rapidly like a gigantic fire-wheel.  After doing this for some time, it stopped.  Then it rotated again, with dizzy sickening speed.  Finally there appeared on the rim a border of crimson, which flung across the sky, as from a hellish vortex, blood red streamers of flame, reflecting to the earth, to the trees and shrubs, to the upturned faces and the clothes all sorts of brilliant colors in succession: green, red, orange, blue, violet, the whole spectrum in fact.  Madly gyrating in this manner three times, the fiery orb seemed to tremble, to shudder, and then to plunge precipitately, in a mighty zigzag, toward the crowd.

A fearful cry broke from the lips of thousands of terrified persons as they fell upon their knees, thinking the end of the world had come.  Some said that the air became warmer at that instant; they would not have been surprised if everything about them had burst into flames, enveloping and consuming them.

Ai Jesús, we are all going to die here!”

“Save us, Jesus!  Our Lady, save us!”

“Oh, my God, I am sorry-”  And one began the Act of Contrition.

Some who had come to jeer fell on their faces and broke into sobs and abject prayers.

The Marques do Cruz said, “Oh my God, how great is Thy power!”

This had lasted about ten minutes, perhaps.  Then all saw the sun begin to climb, in the same zigzag manner, to where it had appeared before.  It became tranquil, then dazzling.  No one could look at it any longer.  It was the sun of every day.

The people stared at one another in joy and amazement.  “Miracle!  Miracle!  The children were right!  Our Lady made the miracle!  Blessed be God!  Blessed be Our Lady!”  The shouts were taken up all over the Cova da Iria.  Some were laughing, others weeping with joy.  Many were making the discovery that their drenched clothes had in some unexplained manner become perfectly dry.

That testimony is based on the memory of eyewitnesses reported to William Thomas Walsh that he published approximately thirty years after the events in Our Lady of Fatima.

But Walsh next recounts an eyewitness account contemporary to the events published in the Lisbon newspaper O Seculo on October 17, 1917, four days after the events.  This newspaper generally supported the policies of Portugal’s at the time fiercely anti-Catholic government.  The author of the article is a man named Avelino de Almeida, managing editor of O Seculo, who was a public Freemason and, while he was not as eager to ridicule those who believe as some of his cohorts in that stupid death cult, he did retain that strong dislike for all aspects of religion, and of Catholicism in particular, that is necessary to thrive in the Masonic orders.  Despite all that here is what he reported to his Lisbon readers on October 17, 1917:

“a spectacle unique and incredible if one had not been a witness of it…  One can see the immense crowd turn toward the sun, which reveals itself free of the clouds in full noon.  The great start of day makes one think of a silver plaque, and it is possible to look straight at it without the least discomfort.  It does not burn, it does not blind.  It might be like an eclipse.  But now bursts forth a colossal clamor, and we hear the nearest spectators crying, ‘Miracle, miracle!  Marvel, marvel!’

Before the astonished eyes of the people, whose attitude carries us back to biblical times and who, full of terror, heads uncovered, gaze into the blue of the sky, the sun has trembled, and the sun has made some brusque movements, unprecedented and outside of all cosmic laws-the sun has ‘danced,’ according to the typical expression of the peasants…  An old man whose stature and face, at once gentle and energetic, recall those of Paul Deroulède, turns toward the sun and recites the Credo with loud cries from beginning to end.  I ask his name.  It is Senhor João Maria Amado de Melo Ramalho da Cunha Vasoncelos.  I see him afterwards addressing those about him who have kept their hats on, begging them vehemently to uncover before so extraordinary a demonstration of the existence of God.  Similar scenes are repeated in all places…

The  people ask one another if they have seen anything and what they have seen.  The greatest number avow that they have seen the trembling and dancing of the sun.  Others, however, declare that they have seen the smiling face of the Virgin herself; swear that the sun turned around on itself like a wheel of fireworks; that it fell. almost to the point of burning the earth with its rays..  Another tells that he has seen it change color successively…

Pray the Rosary every day.  Offer sacrifices for sinners.  Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and to sacrifice for them.

Prelude to October 13, 1917: the great rain

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.  On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark (Genesis 7:11-13)

April 19, 2017                                                                                                                                   Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

The Miracle of the Sun is the great event of the modern times.  The events of October 13, 1917 are like in their suspension of the normal natural course of events to the great miracles of the Old Testament: the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:9-31), the crossing of the Jordan river into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:7-17), the sun and the moon standing still (Joshua 10:9-14), and the shadow moving backward on the sundial of Ahaz (Isaiah 38:4-8, 2 Kings 20:8-11).  One might even make the argument that October 13, 1917 was even greater than any of these events because Our Lady predicted three separate times on July 13, on August 19, and on September 13 that a great miracle would be done around midday on October 13, 1917.  God did not tell Moses in advance not to worry about the Egyptians because He was going to take care of them in the Red Sea, but Our Lady did tell that to Lucia and Jacinta who told it to Francisco and anyone else who would listen.

This great event occurred in front of 70,000 witnesses who all knew in advance to expect something great that day and who all likely would have come down on the children pretty hard if nothing happened.  There were great fears for the lives of the children.  Even Lucia’s mother, Maria Rosa, who thought flat out that her daughter was either making all of this stuff up or being deceived by the devil, decided to go with her daughter on October 13 to the Cova da Iria.  She was convinced that there would be no miracle and that the crowd would turn on the poor child so she resolved to die with her daughter.

But there was a great miracle.  The strange thing is now, a century later, that this greatest event of modern times is covered by a blanket of silence.  It is not so much denied as it is just not talked about, and in the not talking about it the thing tends to be forgotten.  I doubt that even one in a thousand Catholics who attend Mass on Sunday even know anything about the events of October 13, 1917, and maybe one in a hundred thousand might appreciate them for what they are.  This should not be surprising given the nature of the ridiculous pseudo-gnostic death cult that has sought from the shadows to control the affairs of men since the 18th century and has driven even the idea of God from almost every facet of human life and sadly wormed its way into the highest positions of the Church.

So we will tell the story of the Miracle of the Sun here.  It will take more than one post.  I want to start with the poetic description of the all night rain over the Cova da Iria on October 12-13, 1917 that William Thomas Walsh gives on pp. 135-39 of Our Lady of Fatima because it gives not only a good description of the rain but of the tenor of the times in that disastrous year in human history: 1917.

That afternoon the sky became overclouded, and a fine cold mist began to fall over the gloomy autumnal expanse of the Serra da Aire.  Shepherds in Aljustrel locked the beasts up early, for it was plain that thick weather was brewing in the northeast.

What a night!  It was as if the devil, somewhere in the ice and snow that could never slake the burning of his pain, had resolved to destroy with one blow all that remained of the Europe which had so long been his battleground against the Thing he hated most.  Somewhere in the dark misery of Siberia, he was permitted, heaven knows why, to disturb the equilibrium of the air, setting in motion a cold and cutting blast that shrieked across the continent to the western sea.  It may have passed howling over a cabin in Finland where a little lynx-eyed man who called himself Lenin was waiting to enter St. Petersburg (he had lately sown the seeds of revolution there), and to begin, in a very few weeks, the transformation and destruction of all that world which owed what was best and noblest in it to the teachings of Christ.  It screamed in mockery over vast armaments moving stealthily through Germany to prepare for the “peace through victory” drive of 1918.  It scourged poor wretches of both armies into the cover of slimy dugouts all along the western front, and plastered with mud the Italian fugitives from Caporetto.  It seemed to echo and enlarge the despair that was settling over the vineyards of war-wearied France, where Haig stood, as he said, with his back to the wall.  Finally it dashed itself against the Pyrenees, and then, as if it had gathered up all the hatreds and discontents of disobedient men and all the rebellious powers of a corrupted nature in its mad career from the Baltic to Cape Saint Vincent, it let them all loose on the little country that has never been permanently conquered, the land where she who treads upon the serpent’s head has long been honored, the terra da Santa Maria.

Darkness fell swiftly, with blacker clouds scudding from the northeast, and huge shapeless masses of fog drifting along the mountain sides and down the river valleys to the ocean.  As the drizzle thickened to a fine, cold, slanting rain, the wind whipped to a gale, bent under it the waving and moaning plumes of the pine forests near Leiria; it ripped the square sails of ancient windmills on the gray heights of the Serra da Aire; it scattered pale glistening leaves of poplars and aspens across the swollen Tagus; it flattened the plucked and reddened vineyards of Braga and the withered gardens of Moita and Fátima; it went roaring across hundreds of miles of narrow beaches until the frothy Atlantic bellowed back in anger, and cast up vengeful floods into village streets.  The rain fell steadily, pitilessly.

Yet there were thousands of human beings and many beasts on the roads of the little Republic that night.  For faith is stronger than doubt, and love is hardier than hate.  Devout Catholics in every village had heard by this time that Our Lady had promised to return to Cova da Iria to perform a miracle on October 13.  Rain or shine, that was all they needed to know.  Peasant families slung their wicker baskets and earthen water jugs over their shoulders, or packed them in panniers on the backs of burros, and started out under the lowering skies.  Fathers and mothers carried sick or lame children in their arms for incredible distances.  Fishermen left their nets and boats on the beaches of the Vieira and took to the oozy roads.  Farmhands from Monte Real, sailors from ships in the harbors of Porto or Algarve, factory workere from Lisboa, serranas from Minde or Soublio, ladies and gentlemen, scrubwomen, waiters, young and old, rich and poor, all sorts of people (but most of them humble, most of them barefoot, most of them workers and their families) were plodding through the mud under the pelting rain that night, like a great scattered army converging upon Fátima, hoping to find there some favor of health or conversion, forgiveness of sin, consolation for sorrow, the beginning of a better life, the blessing of the Mother of God.

It made no difference to these devotees if saturated trousers or skirts sloshed around their tired legs as their bare feet plowed the mud or splattered the puddles of bad roads.  Laughter was heard among groups of several families as they walked along together.  Fragments of old hymns would echo back from the wet cliffs, or come floating down out of the darkness of a lonely road.  “Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!”  Not for nothing had the ancestors of these people sung the Salve Regina on the decks of galleons in the Indian Ocean or whalers in the China Sea.

This description of the pilgrims marching toward Fatima is in its way an excellent metaphor for the Church and her march through history.  She gathers her humble children from the mountains and from the fields, from the factories and the harbors, from the streets and the forests, from the deserts and the bayous and they take their place with her, singing ancient hymns and thanking God for that great gift of the Immaculate Heart of his most holy Mother and all that she conceived, on the march through the terrible stormy night of history.  And it is a storm that will grow much darker and much more terrible, the devil knowing how short his time is now, as she approaches her final goal: to meet her Lord who stands waiting for his Bride when dawn breaks on the far shore of the Resurrection and the final Judgement of the human race.