The Popes Approve of Fatima
Since the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, many of the Popes have shown their recognition of the authenticity of the Fatima apparitions and have also strongly encouraged devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
On January 17, 1918 the ancient diocese of Fatima was re-established by Pope Benedict XV. On April 29, 1918 in a letter to the Portuguese Bishops, Pope Benedict referred to the occurrences at Fatima as “an extraordinary aid from the Mother of God.”
In July 1920 the new Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, José Correia de Silva was consecrated. Shortly afterwards he allowed Low Mass to be said on the apparition site on the days when there were many people in attendance.
On May 3, 1922 the Bishop of Leiria published a decree to open a canonical investigation of the Fatima apparitions. Seven highly learned and respected people made their final report seven years later, on April 14, 1929. Bishop de Silva spent many months studying the report.
On January 9, 1929, at an audience of the Portuguese Seminary in Rome, Pope Pius XI personally offered each seminarian two pictures of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. Pope Pius also wished to read all the results of the Canonical Process of Fatima so that he would be personally acquainted with Our Lady’s apparitions. On October 1, 1930 the Sacred Penitentiary granted a partial indulgence to those who individually visited the Shrine and prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father, and a plenary indulgence once a month to those who went there in a group. These indulgences granted in Rome came just in time to prepare minds to receive with entire confidence the soon-to-be-announced episcopal approval, which the Holy See had thus discreetly supported.
On October 13, 1930 at the Cova da Iria, before a crowd of over 100,000 pilgrims, the Bishop of Leiria read his pastoral letter which ended with the following declaration:
“We deem it well: 1. to declare worthy of belief the vision of the shepherds at the Cova da Iria, in the Parish of Fatima, of this Diocese, on the thirteenth day of the months from May to October, 1917; 2. to give official permission for the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.”
Then on May 13, 1931 all the Bishops of Portugal went to Fatima and solemnly consecrated Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
|Pope Pius XII did much to promote the message of Our Lady of Fatima. He was, in fact, called “the Pope of Fatima”.|
Pope Pius XII did many things to help encourage devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. In October 1942, in response to Our Lady of Fatima’s request, His Holiness consecrated the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. On the 25th anniversary of Fatima the Holy See instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 1946 His Eminence Cardinal Masella, acting as the personal Legate of Pope Pius, crowned Our Lady of Fatima, “Queen of the World”. The entire Portuguese episcopate and over 600,000 pilgrims gathered at Fatima for the event.
On October 13, 1951 the Pope’s Legate, Cardinal Tedeschini, was sent to Fatima for the closing of the Holy Year. He told the crowd that Pope Pius himself had seen, repeated in Rome, the Miracle of the Sun that had occurred at the last Fatima apparition. It is clear that Pope Pius chose the Fatima Shrine for this major event to bring attention to the message of Our Lady of Fatima.
In July 1952 Pius XII consecrated Russia and her people to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On October 11, 1954 Pius issued an encyclical on the Queenship of Mary, and in it he referred to Her miraculous image at Fatima. Two years later the Church which stands on the apparition site at Fatima was elevated to the rank of a Basilica.
In 1964, during the Second Vatican Council, at the solemn closing ceremonies at the end of the third session, before all the Catholic Bishops of the world, Pope Paul VI renewed Pope Pius XII’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He also announced that a special envoy was to be sent to Fatima. In the Pope’s name the Papal Legate would carry, as a symbolic gift, a Golden Rose to the Fatima Shrine. The inscription on it would say that Pope Paul was entrusting the entire Church to the care of Our Lady of Fatima. Then, in fact, on May 13, 1965, through his Papal Legate, as he had announced at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul presented the Golden Rose at Fatima, commending the whole Church to Our Lady of Fatima’s care.
|Pope Paul VI, like all the Popes since the Fatima apparitions, strongly supported Fatima. Pope Paul made a pilgrimage to Fatima on the 50th anniversary of the first apparition. There he blessed 25 statues of Our Lady of Fatima, one of which is Canada’s own Pilgrim Virgin.|
On May 13, 1967 on the fiftieth anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, the Holy Father Pope Paul VI went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, where She actually appeared. The attention of the whole world was on Fatima and the Pope’s visit. Sister Lucy, who saw Our Lady at Fatima, also attended, in obedience to the request of the Holy Father. The crowd was massive; an estimated one and one half million people from all over the world attended. The crowd began crying Viva il Papa when the Pope knelt beside the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. He placed a beautiful Rosary in Our Lady’s hands, and asked Her intercession for world peace. That day Pope Paul offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass out of doors. He spoke several times to the crowd. He told the people he had made the pilgrimage to ask Our Lady of Fatima for peace in the Church and in the world. He wanted to ask Our Lady for, “a living Church, a true Church, a united Church, a holy Church.” He prayed for those people who lived in countries where they were unable to practice their religion, so that God would sustain them through their trials. He called on all the people of the world to make and renew their personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
While he was in Fatima, Pope Paul specially blessed twenty-five Statues of Our Lady of Fatima, which were to be distributed to various nations. Canada was one of the twenty-five countries which were privileged to receive a National Pilgrim Statue. In this way, Pope Paul reminds us of Our Lady of Fatima’s message of Love and Concern for us all.
Fatima has certainly been fully endorsed by Pope after Pope. Let us, like Pope Pius XII say, “the time for doubting Fatima is past.” Let us not hesitate to fulfill Our Lady’s requests.