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by Ron Tesoriero
Australian Attorney

As we reach the 82nd anniversary of the miracle of Fatima, it is timely that we refocus on what happened in 1917 and reflect upon its potential continuing significance.

We possibly need to be reminded that the Church has, since the 1930's, claimed Fatima to be worthy of belief, and that the current Pope has said of the Message of Fatima – "the message reveals itself to be more relevant and urgent today than ever".

Yet you would think that with the Church's official stand on Fatima and such a powerful statement made by the Holy Father this would have translated into a drive by the Church to impress upon, at least, Catholics, why the Message of Fatima is more relevant and urgent today than ever.

Many people's knowledge of Fatima is limited to what they saw in a Warner Brothers' movie made in 1952.

Even these days it would be hard to find members of a religious order who had a good understanding of Fatima and its message and why that message is relevant and urgent.

In recent years I have spoken to many students who have spent six years in the Catholic secondary school system who tell me they have never heard of Fatima. I can only assume that Fatima is regarded as no longer relevant to Catholic school religious education.

As a student in the Catholic school system in the late 1950's it was the story of Fatima that probably impacted on us more than anything else taught in religious education lessons.

We were told of an event that has been described as the most obvious and colossal miracle in history since the time of Christ's Resurrection, predicted three months in advance by three peasant children, and witnessed by 70,000 people, given as a sign to confirm that messages given to the children were from God.

From this we had confirmed to us in a dramatic way the existence of God, the role of the Virgin Mary and how Her messages aligned with those traditional teachings of the Real Presence, the reality of hell, the need to pray and to offer sacrifices to atone for those who offend God.

But what was not adequately addressed even during my school days and seemingly not treated seriously by the Church since then was that Our Lady's Message at Fatima was essentially a peace plan for the world for the 20th Century.

The message was given during the First World War when Our Lady warned of a further war, the Second World War, that would be avoided if Her requests were complied with.

Our Lady's messages then went on to tell of what would follow if Her requests were not complied with, speaking of how Russia would spread her errors throughout the world causing further wars, etc. and ultimately certain nations would be annihilated.

But Her promise was that "in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me and she (Russia) will be converted and a period of peace will be granted to the world ..."

The particular request asked for by Our Lady referred to in that message which was to be the prerequisite to the granting of peace in the world was Her request for the act of consecration by the Holy Father and the bishops.

Sister Lucy, the only survivor of the three children of Fatima, records in her memoirs the words of Our Lady's request for the consecration, given in 1929 at the time of her Vision of the Most Holy Trinity in the Chapel at Tuy.

"The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Catholic bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means ..."

There is now becoming a widely held view that when Pope John Paul II performed the Act of Consecration on March 25, 1984, that act of consecration was sufficient to satisfy the request of the Virgin of Fatima even though many bishops of the world refused to co-operate in the act of consecration requested of them by the Holy Father.

There have been reports that Sister Lucy herself has notified the Pope that the Act of Consecration performed was sufficient. In the absence of any first-hand evidence being produced of Sister Lucy's exact words either by a letter in her handwriting or a tape or video recording of the conversations and the context under which Sister Lucy may have expressed any views on this issue, it is hard to accept that she could have made such a statement.

I say this for the reasons that follow.

To properly understand the nature and purpose of Our Lady's request for the Consecration of Russia one must have regard to the whole of the Fatima messages, the exact words of the request for the Consecration and the vision of Sister Lucy that preceded Our Lady's message.

When we look at the words of Our Lady concerning the Consecration, we notice that She is conveying a specific request that the Holy Father make that act in union with all the Catholic bishops of the world. The promise from God is that if this is done, peace will be granted to the world as a great act of mercy on God's part.

If this request is from God, we can assume that the words of the request were deliberately and meaningfully chosen. There are two key words to which meaning must be attributed. They are the words "union" and "all". Attributing meaning to those words we can see that the request was a call for unity and obedience from all the bishops of the world to join with the Holy Father. The call was also one which sought faith and trust in Our Lady and Her promise. We are not told how compliance with Her request will bring about world peace but simply that it will.

This understanding of the message is much aided by Sister Lucy's vision that preceded it. The vision is rich in symbolism and is a compendium of many elements of our faith. Significant is the portrayal of Christ suffering at the point of death on the cross with His Mother at the foot sharing that suffering. The teaching that can be drawn from that vision is probably best gained from the meditations of the Holy Father himself.

"He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross ... It was certainly Jesus who gave us the example of obedience. These are words which seem out of date today when there is a whole systematic opposition to obedience, which is presented as a humiliation of one's personality, a defeat of intelligence and of the will, abdication of one's human dignity ... It (obedience) costs sacrifice, it demands commitment and sometimes even entails heroic effort. We must look at Jesus crucified! We must also obey with confidence, convinced that God's grace is never lacking ..." (His daily meditations for July 23).

These themes of obedience, self-sacrifice and trust contained in Sister Lucy's vision reinforce those contained within the message itself. The reward promised by God is for unity and obedience by the senior ministers of His Church.

It is hard to imagine that God would be giving the reward promised for obedience if there was less than obedience.

When we look at the history of man's relationship with God beginning with the time of Adam and Eve, we see the importance that God placed on obedience to His word and how the failure on the part of those in a position of trust often had severe consequences not only to them but also to those who were entrusted to them.

This historical lesson is alluded to in a divine communication Sister Lucy says she had with Our Lord which she records on the last page of her memoirs:

"Our Lord complained to me saying: 'They, [the bishops of the world] did not 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 ..."

These prophetic words and the prophetic words of Our Lady of Fatima imply that the Consecration will finally be done as asked for but late and only after the Ministers of the Church see and experience the pain of the persecution of the Church and the wars provoked by the errors that Russia has spread throughout the world.

For those who say that the Consecration has been done and there is nothing more to do but witness the promised peace that is to unfold we must ask, "Is that what we really see when we look at nightly television and see what appears to be a lack of peace that is growing around the world?" (See the article "Russia Will Spread Her Errors ... ... Raising Up Wars and Persecutions").

Perhaps the fall of the Berlin Wall that happened after the Pope's attempt to perform the Act of Consecration in 1984 was something given by God in recognition of the Pope's efforts and as a sign of encouragement to his Ministers. But Communism, "the errors" spread by Russia is not dead, even in Russia. (See the article "Communism is "Dead" ... Again").

It would seem that we are not yet at the final stage of the Fatima prophecy and this should be of the utmost concern to the whole world.

If that time before the final stage of Fatima is distinguished by lack of peace due to the errors of Russia being spread throughout the world, then one wonders what the role of North Korea or China will be. Are they the ones to unleash WWIII in that terrible prelude to the promised peace? Will it take that to wake up the world?

Whatever the unknown future, we do have the certainty from Our Lady that there will come a time when the Fatima Message will be accepted and heeded, following which peace in the world will come.

It follows that the sooner the Fatima Message is known and understood, the sooner will come world peace.

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