The Churchís Obligation to Believe and Obey Our Lady of Fatima
by Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L., S.T.D. (Cand.)
Recently an informal survey was taken of a number of lay persons and priests, as well as bishops and Cardinals, regarding the obligation to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima. Not surprisingly, even among people who are self-proclaimed experts on the subject, there are dangerous ideas. Since the topic is crucial for the eternal salvation of millions of souls and, furthermore, it is absolutely essential for world peace, we present here an edited version of the talk Father Gruner gave at the 2001 Bishops Peace Conference in Rome.
We will now talk about the obligation to believe and to obey the Message of Our Lady of Fatima. There are several theological positions regarding the Churchís obligation, and our own individual obligation, to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima.
First, let me briefly point out that there are those who say that Fatima is a "private revelation", and, therefore, we do not have to believe in Fatima, nor are we or even the Pope obliged to obey it. You can, so these people say, believe it if you like, and fulfill the pious exercises it promotes if you like, but you cannot tell anyone that he is bound to believe and obey.
There are priests and Fatima organizations who claim to love Our Lady, who say such things. Their position, although widely held, is erroneous, is dangerous and could lead many who hold this position ultimately straight to hell.
Why is it false, dangerous and bad? We will see by examining the other two theological positions which both directly oppose the position outlined above.
Fatima is in Biblical Prophecy
The first position upholding the Churchís obligation to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima is as follows: the Message of Fatima is contained in Sacred Scripture by way of prophecy. And that if it is contained there, it is part of the Deposit of the Faith. And if it is part of the Deposit of Faith, then weíre bound to believe it with divine and Catholic Faith.
In other words, according to this position, the Fatima Message is part of public revelation, guaranteed by the Holy Ghost in Sacred Scripture. This theological position is clearly directly opposed to those who say "Fatima is a private revelation."
To many, even the pious as well as priests and theologians, this position (let us call it "Fatima is in the Bible" position) is indefensible, extremist and much too radical. I donít hold this position as a certitude, but as you will see, it is very useful to understand: first, because it could be true and might one day even be the teaching of the Magisterium; and, secondly, it helps us understand better the second position to be described below, which also upholds our obligations to believe and obey.
Opposing Theologian Silenced
Now regarding the "Fatima is in the Bible" position, let me explain by way of a theological discussion I had with a professor of Theology. It was publicly in class in Rome many years ago in the Marianum. He suggested to me that we did not have to believe at all in Fatima. And I said to him, "How do you know that it is not a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Can you affirm categorically and absolutely it is not then part of the Faith?" And although he was totally opposed to my position, he could not refute it. He had no answer and acknowledged it.
Why did the professor concede, even though he was opposed? Simple. Because the argument is very simple, direct and logical. To understand the force of it we need to review some basics.
What is it that we must believe by our profession of the Catholic faith? What is of the Faith? St. Thomas tells us it is all that God has revealed. What is of the Catholic Faith? Everything thatís in Sacred Scripture. Everything thatís in Catholic Tradition. Thatís the Catholic Faith.
St. Thomas points out in his Summa Theologica that if you know that Scripture tells you David had seventy sons, then you must by divine and Catholic Faith believe it. That is why a theologian is held to a higher standard of belief than the average lay person.
To be saved, St. Thomas says, all persons must believe the 12 articles of the Apostlesí Creed. But a theologian must believe much more than that because thereís much more that has been defined and taught and passed on in the Deposit of Faith.1
St. Thomas says that if you know that in Scripture David is said to be the son of Jesse, you must believe it with divine and Catholic Faith,2 because God revealed it. The essence of the theological virtue of Faith is that one believes not because his opinion coincides with Godís, but because one accepts what God has revealed.
We know that God, Who is all Holy, cannot lie. We know that God, Who is all knowing, cannot be mistaken. If God tells us something, then we have to believe it. Otherwise we blaspheme God because in that case we are either calling Him a liar or weíre denying His capacity to know all truth. A non-believer may not explicitly intend to blaspheme God, but he is blaspheming by his very act of disbelief.
A Mortal Sin to Deny the Faith
That is why itís a mortal sin to deny one article of the Catholic Faith. The Church has taught this for centuries, as the Scriptures themselves do. St. Paul says in Galatians 1:8, "though we, or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel to you besides that which you have received, let him be anathema." (Which means let him be cut off, let him be cursed, let him go to hell for all eternity.)
The Church, in Her mercy and in Her love for souls, has made it clear that certain things must be believed in order to be saved. Thatís why Sheís made solemn definitions. Whoever says or believes that which is contrary to a solemn definition, let him be anathema. Let him be cut off.
Now in our time many people in the Catholic Church are losing that sense of dogma, according to the Third Secret. (See the article "If We Lose Dogma, We Lose Our Soul" on this point.) But no man is excused from believing the truths of the faith simply because many others have lost their sense of dogma. Dogmatic Faith is required for salvation. Not everyone knows all the dogmatic teachings of the Magisterium, but all are held to believe explicitly those things they know the Church has solemnly defined as being of divine and Catholic Faith.
Certainly theologians have the obligation to know them and believe them more than lay persons.
But even a lay person, once a dogmatic teaching has been brought to his attention, has the same solemn obligation to believe as explicitly as a theologian. St. Augustine tells us that not everyone has the same gift of understanding, and that those of us who are less gifted, because we have less intelligence, have lesser obligations. But the essential obligation is the same for everyone; that is, that one must believe what God teaches. A refusal to believe what God teaches is enough to damn you to hell for all eternity.
And so the chief argument of this position is that the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima is contained in Sacred Scripture, because it is foretold in the Apocalypse Chapter 12. In other words, if Our Ladyís appearance at Fatima in 1917 is in fact foretold in Sacred Scripture then we are bound to believe it as a future event predicted that has now come to pass. And as such, it is part of the Deposit of Faith. Remember I do not hold this position as certain; however, I respect it and I have no argument against it.
We Must Not Follow the Blind Leaders
Who Say You Can Ignore Fatima
Now, if it is true that Fatima is indeed contained in prophecy in Sacred Scripture, we now, living today, most solemnly have very special obligations. For each of us right now may be facing eternal truths that will determine our eternal destiny. We cannot simply put this aside, ignore it or not reflect on it. We cannot simply let others, even so-called experts, decide for us like many did in Our Lordís time.
The Pharisees were blind and leaders of the blind and both fell into the pit of hell. Let us reflect here for a moment on the parallel with Our Lordís life. Our Lordís arrival was foretold in the Old Testament. And the Pharisees of the Old Testament claimed they had the Scriptures, so what need had they to listen to this "ignorant" Carpenter from Nazareth? What they forgot was that their own Scriptures contained prophecies and those prophecies talked about that Carpenter from Nazareth. And so they themselves fulfilled their role as villains in the very prophecies they claimed to be the keepers and masters of. And itís because they did not really believe God, and they did not believe in the miracles that Jesus did (although they claimed to believe in God), that they were condemned.
The coming of Our Lord was predicted in the Old Testament by many prophets. And Christ came at the time predicted.3 What He would do; how He would die;4 many, many facts about Him were predicted.
And although the Pharisees claimed to be faithful to the Scriptures, they themselves were guilty of crucifying Christ. (This is not to ignore that all sinners in some way crucify Christ, but weíre talking now about the physical death of Christ in time, and it was predicted.) The Jewish leaders claimed to have God for their master, but our Lord said to them, "If you had God for your Father, then you would recognize Me, because I am the image of the Father." "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do." (John 8:44)
And as Saint Padre Pio once said, there are people who, in the name of upholding Scriptures, deny evident miracles in their own time, and they will fall, little by little, from that to denying even the miracles that Christ worked in the Scriptures.
How do these facts concern us here and now? Very simply. If Our Ladyís coming at Fatima is predicted in Sacred Scripture, just as the coming of Christ is predicted in Sacred Scripture, then the biblical prophecy must be believed when it is fulfilled. And the Phariseesí refusal to believe in Christ when they were given the great miracles He performed, made them guilty.
Their claim to believe Sacred Scriptures as their excuse to refuse to believe the Prophet God the Father had sent did not excuse them.5 They died in their sins.
Two Popes Tell Us!
When did Our Lady of Fatima come? When was She predicted in Sacred Scripture?
Well we have two Popes in the last thirty-seven years telling us that it is Our Lady of Fatima who is indicated in Chapter 12 verse 1 of the Apocalypse. Both Popes clearly indicate that it is not just Our Lady ó and certainly it is Our Lady ó but it is not simply Our Lady, it is Our Lady of Fatima that fulfilled the prophecy that is contained in Chapter 12 verse 1 of the Apocalypse. Now where do we find these statements of the Popes? We find it first of all in the opening paragraph of Paul VIís encyclical Signum magnum,6 which translated from the Latin is "Great Sign"; and in Latin, Ch. 12, verse 1 of the Apocalypse starts off "Signum magnum apparuit in caelo" ó that is, "A great sign appeared in the Heavens." And Paul VI clearly does not define or say that this is absolutely Our Lady of Fatima, but he clearly wants to suggest that it is.
This is not to say that the Magisterium has said Our Lady of Fatima is the Woman clothed with the sun. However, Paul VI, in his encyclical, clearly intends to convey that message. Itís very subtly worded, but it is clear thatís what he intends. Moreover, John Paul II also gave the same indication, and I think even more forcefully, in his sermon at Fatima on May 13, 2000.7 There, he made the same suggestion, but he was even more definitive about it. Itís most noteworthy that the two Popes who have gone to Fatima have made it their business to suggest, to state, to indicate, that Our Lady of Fatimaís appearance is the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of Chapter 12 of St. Johnís book of biblical prophecy.
If it really is the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy, then the argument could be made that itís not just a public prophetic revelation, which I will explain to you in a moment, but it is, in fact, part of the Deposit of Faith.
A Pope Could Define It!
"Fatima is in the Bible" is a respectable theological position ó even if it is not widely held. I do not say that this position is definitive, that would take the true Magisterium, more exactly, the Pope to make a solemn pronouncement intending to bind the whole Catholic Church to this position to make it binding on all Catholics. Nevertheless, up to now, there is no one who can prove that it is not exact and true. Especially when two Popes have very publicly, very clearly indicated ó quite possibly on the basis of the full Third Secret, which clearly has not yet been fully released ó that Our Lady of Fatima is indeed the fulfillment of this biblical prophecy. I can tell you that those in the Catholic Church who oppose Fatima, (and there are many, from modernists, to progressives, to liberals, to conservatives, to even some "traditionalists") have no arguments against the position that "Fatima is in biblical prophecy". I have no arguments either.
I would leave the option open for this position, if the Church should ever define it, which She could. In fact, on this very point, the Fifth Lateran Council ó which met around the year 1512 ó defined that the Pope alone defines on matters of prophetic revelation.8 Not the Cardinal Secretary of State, not the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but the Pope alone. And weíre talking about the Pope in his official capacity as teacher, not as private theologian.
Some Necessary Clarifications
In this respect, thereís not a large difference between a Pope and a judge. Take the example of a judge. His wife asks him at night, halfway through a murder trial, "Well, is the defendant guilty or innocent?" And the judge could say to his wife in the privacy of his home "I think heís guilty." But that opinion of the judge does not constitute an official statement of the judge. It is his opinion. And the Pope similarly can have opinions about various things going on in the Church. But the expression of those opinions, even in a public place, does not constitute the expression of the Magisterium. It does not, as such, constitute a Magisterial definition or statement.
There are certain precise requirements for something to be Magisterial on the part of the Pope. Iím not talking only about solemn definitions, but even the exercise of his ordinary and universal Magisterium. Thatís a whole other discourse, but it is needed because thereís a lot of confusion on that point today. What Iím getting at is simply that in these matters of prophetic revelation, the Pope is the final, sole judge. But until that time that he pronounces magisterially, we have the right to our own opinions. St. Augustine tells us that "in essentials there must be unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity." And so we have a right to hold our opinion so long as we hold it sincerely, that is, after having weighed the evidence and done the best to understand whatís at stake.
Public Prophetic Revelation
The next theological position is that the Message of Fatima is not a private revelation, nor is it part of the Deposit of Faith, but it nevertheless carries with it the solemn obligation ó before God and man ó to believe it, to obey it as well as to defend it and advance it to the extent of our power and possibilities.
Even if the previously outlined position that "Fatima is in the Bible" turns out not to be defined by a future Pope at a future date; nevertheless, we are still obliged to believe and obey the Fatima Message and requests.
This third position is a clear answer to the false statement that "Fatima is only a private revelation". As we shall see, this third position is based on Sacred Scripture and on right reason.
It shows that those who claim, even people like Cardinal Ratzinger or Father Fox, that we (or the Pope or bishops and priests) are not obliged to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima are clearly wrong.
This third position, very simply then, is that the Blessed Virgin Maryís Message of Fatima is a public, prophetic revelation. And this is a position that has been elucidated more completely by better theologians than myself. You will find among them Bishop Graber of Germany, who tells us that those who say that Fatima is a private revelation that can be ignored are wrong.9 Youíll find the same position held by Father Joseph de Ste. Marie, a Carmelite theologian who taught in Rome.10 He also quotes other theologians who maintain that those who say that Fatimaís just a private revelation and one need not pay attention to it, are badly mistaken.11
And what is a private revelation? A private revelation, strictly speaking, is a message to an individual from God or a saint that he is bound to believe. So, if Our Lady appeared to one of you, or your patron saint appeared, and told you what you must do in order to save your soul, or what you must do tomorrow, or even in the next hour, that revelation which you have, which no one else can verify, would be private and no one else would be bound to believe it except yourself.
Fatima is Public
But Fatima is not unverifiable, and itís not a message for one individual. Itís a public message given to the whole Church and verified by a public miracle and public prophecies. And the consequences of ignoring the requests of Our Lady of Fatima are catastrophic. Fatima is a public, prophetic revelation, and as such, once the Church has examined it and found it worthy of belief, Natural Law and Sacred Scripture tell us what we must do. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, St. Paul writes "Do not extinguish the spirit. Do not despise prophecies. But test all things and hold fast that which is good."
Fatima is Prophetic
The Message of Fatima is a public revelation; itís a prophecy. The Church has tested it and found it to be good and, therefore, we are bound to hold fast to it. To take the attitude that it can be ignored without consequences would be to despise prophecy. Otherwise, we would be extinguishing the spirit, and if we could do that, we could then say "Well, itís uncomfortable for me to consecrate Russia," or "Itís uncomfortable for me to pray the Rosary every day," or "Itís uncomfortable for me to do this or to do that, and so I donít want to do it."
So all I have to do is simply say "I donít have to believe it", and then I can peacefully go on my way and say, on Judgment Day, "Well, I didnít know You wanted me to pray the Rosary. I didnít know You wanted me to promote the Message of Fatima. I didnít know You wanted me to consecrate Russia." The Lord will say "Well, you were told." "Oh, but I was told it was a private revelation which I didnít need to obey to save my soul." "Well you were told by Me in no uncertain terms. I worked a great miracle so that you would know that this message came from Me. You just did not want to hear. You wanted to shut Me off. You obviously were trying to extinguish My Spirit. That excuse will not excuse you. Donít bother to tell Me that Cardinal Ratzinger and Father Fox said it would. You know better! To ignore it is to extinguish the Holy Spirit,12 Who spoke to you through this prophecy. You despised prophecy, youíre guilty, and itís too bad for you."
It is what Sister Lucy in her famous interview with Father Fuentes spoke about: To refuse the known truth is a sin against the Holy Spirit. God has given the evidence that the Message of Fatima comes from Him.
Lessons from the Bible
Our Lord spoke to the cities of Capharnaum, Bethsaida and Corozain. Sacred Scripture says:
"Then began He (Jesus) to upbraid the cities wherein were done the most of His miracles, for that they had not done penance. Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida: for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to Heaven? Thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day.
But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matt. 11:20-24)
The cities of Corozain, Bethsaida, and Capharnaum had seen the miracles of Our Lord. Even those citizens who did not witness them personally, had the testimony of many other citizens, so their disbelief was culpable.
How can it be that to refuse to believe in Our Lordís miracles is culpable, whereas to refuse to believe in the Miracle of the Sun, which happened before 70,000 witnesses, is not culpable? The cities of Bethsaida, Capharnaum, and Corozain were condemned for refusing to believe the known miracles of Christ and for rejecting the message that was given with those miracles. That merited damnation. And, by the same line of reasoning, so would refusal to believe in the Message of Fatima. Because the miracle has been testified by 70,000 people, and not only the Miracle of the Sun, but also the cures and the prophecies.
The First Vatican Council teaches us that God not only moves us by interior graces to believe the Catholic Faith, He also gives external motives of credibility.13 And the two greatest of those are external miracles and prophecies which have come true. And we have both of those things in Fatima. So God has given the external signs and God has also given the external prophecies, all of them verifying the truth of this message.
The Popeís and All the Bishopsí Obligation
to Listen to Fatima
There are people who think that somehow or other the Message of Fatima exempts the hierarchy, priest or bishops, or the Cardinals, or the Pope, from obeying the Message of Fatima. Iím not here to pass judgment on anybody, but that is not theologically accurate.
Some would ask "Who is more important, Sister Lucy or the Pope?" I think the question is put badly. Itís not a question of whether Sister Lucy commands the Pope. She doesnít have any pretense of doing that, nor do I. But am I now contradicting what I just said? I am not. The answer is simple. It is for the prophet to give the message as God gives it to the prophet, in this case Sister Lucy. It is for the Church to examine whether the prophecy comes from God, which it has done. And the Church has said "Yes, this message comes from God." It is then the obligation of the Church, including the Pope and the bishops, to obey God, whose message was given through the prophet.
So the relationship between the prophet and the hierarchy is not one in which the prophet commands the hierarchy. It is God Who commands the hierarchy. It is God Who gives His message through the prophet to the hierarchy, and it is for the hierarchy to obey, once it has determined that the message indeed comes from God.
More Reflections on Scripture
Is there any Scriptural basis for this? Certainly. You will find various examples in the Acts of the Apostles of just such a relationship in the time of the Apostles. For example, the very consecration of St. Paul as bishop was done through the voice of prophecy. While they were praying together, the Holy Ghost spoke, obviously through a prophet, and said "Separate Me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them." (Acts 13:2)
And so the Catholics praying together there prayed and fasted further, and then a bishop among them made Paul and Barnabas bishops. But they were appointed bishops through the voice of prophecy. And we also have the example of St. Paul writing to the Ephesians (in Eph. 2:20), in which St. Paul says that the Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets.
According to Father Joseph de Ste. Marie, the context tells us the prophets talked about are the prophets of the New Covenant, who are the foundation of the Church together with the Apostles and the bishops their successors. St. Thomas tells us God sends prophets of the New Covenant to every generation, not to give a new doctrine, but to remind the Faithful what they must do to save their souls.
Father Joseph de Ste. Marie develops this theme further and we have published it in The Fatima Crusader and also in my book World Enslavement or Peace.14 I think youíll find much of the argument Iíve given here between pages 83-157 of my book.
Itís now thirteen years in publication and has been sent to all the bishops. Iíve yet to have one theologian disagree with us. The obligation to believe and to obey is a solemn one and youíll find that the examples of the history of the Church also confirm this.
The Example of the Beheaded King of France
There is also the revelation of St. Margaret Mary.15 The Sacred Heart of Jesus told St. Margaret Mary that the King of France must consecrate his country to the Sacred Heart. Not simply privately, but publicly, and to put the emblem of the Sacred Heart on the standard, on the flag of France, and on his coat of arms. Now this was given without a Miracle of the Sun. This was given in the message given to St. Margaret Mary on June 17, 1689.
This message was written down and transmitted to the kings of France. They knew of the request and they ignored it; so on June 17, 1789, one hundred years later to the day, the King of France had his legislative power taken from him by the Third Estate, and four years later, after being in prison for some time, he was executed.16
Our Lord, in the Message of Fatima, makes reference to that very fact when He says, "Make it known to My ministers, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune."17
Now, does it make sense that Our Lord should say that the King of France was punished for not obeying a "private revelation" if in fact it did not obligate him to believe and obey? But as it happened, the King of France was punished very severely for his delaying the execution of Jesusí command! Now Our Lord Himself is formally warning that a number of bishops and possibly the Pope himself ó and maybe even a number of His priests ó will be following the King of France into misfortune for one reason; and that reason is the delaying of obedience to His command to consecrate specifically Russia. That is the clear intent of the message given by Our Lord.
It doesnít make sense that God should give us a message so clearly, so authoritatively and yet we can say with impunity to God, "Well, I donít read it in Scripture, according to my reading of Scripture, so I donít have to listen to You." But there are those blind people who are leaders of other blind people who say we donít have to pay attention to the Message of Fatima. They say this even though they acknowledge that they cannot be certain it is not already in Scripture, in prophecy. Now if I were a betting person, I would not bet on my salvation knowing all that. In other words, if I ó knowing that it could be in Sacred Scripture, knowing that I have the obligation to do Godís will and that Godís gone to the trouble of telling me what His will is ó should say, "Well, I think I can create a doubt in my mind sufficient to excuse me on Judgment Day" ó well, no oneís ever argued with God and won the case.
And Our Lord is saying "Because they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune." I think the obligation ó not only of the Faithful to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima, but the obligation of the bishops and the Pope ó is quite clear and quite certain.
Do Not Call Evil Good
This is not to pass judgment on anybody, because I am not anyoneís judge ó except if someone comes to me in confession, then I have to fulfill my role as minister of the sacrament and judge the penitent. So Iím not here to judge anybody, but it would not be right for me to simply say "Since Iím not your judge, I cannot affirm certain truths." Itís one thing to say "I donít know if somebodyís guilty or not." Itís quite another thing to say "I donít know if this is a sin or not."
It says in Sacred Scripture, do not call evil good and do not call good evil.18 And, therefore, in my capacity as a publisher of the Message of Fatima, in my capacity as a Catholic priest, I cannot call the refusal to obey Our Lady of Fatima good. I have to call it a sin. Am I therefore saying that Cardinal X, or Bishop Y, or whoever, is guilty of sin? No, Iím not saying that. I am not their judge. But I am saying in the objective moral order that it is a sin. Thereís no other explanation for it, and if I had to defend this in a theological debate, I could do so.
We who know Fatima better also have the obligation to listen. Just as theologians have an obligation to believe more articles of the Faith, we who know Fatima have a greater obligation to believe it, to obey it.
When Sister Lucy asked Our Lord in 1936, "Why will You not convert Russia without the Pope making that consecration," Jesus answered by saying: "Because I want My whole Church to recognize that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that later on My Church will extend Her veneration and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart." And Sister Lucy, upon receiving this reply, said "But, my God, the Holy Father probably wonít believe me unless You, Yourself move him with a special inspiration." And Our Lordís answer was: "Pray a great deal for the Holy Father. He will do it but it will be late."19 And so it is up to us to pray for the Holy Father.
Speak Up for Fatima
I think it comes down to this: Either people do not know the Message of Fatima or they really donít believe it. Refusing belief is a sin; and refusing to obey is also a sin. Is someone guilty of sin? God knows, I donít. But do we have an obligation ourselves? Yes, knowing what we do of Fatima, we certainly must pray for the Holy Father, and we must certainly not maintain silence. This is what the enemies of Our Lady want.
The Marvelous Example of Three Children
Recall that all the Mayor of Ourem wanted from the three Fatima children was for them to stop talking about seeing Our Lady, and they refused to do that. He threatened them with death.
Let us remember that these three children were alone, abandoned and imprisoned. Recall that neither the anger of the Mayor and his threats of extreme violence, nor his position of power, prestige and apparent limitless authority did not deter them. They would not obey the order to be silent about Our Lady of Fatima and Her Message.
They withstood all the power of the State as it bore down on them, and they resisted the insinuations of the parish priest who said it might be of the devil. They knew the truth, and with it, together with the grace of God, they resisted the fury of hell. They would rather die than be unfaithful to God and Our Lady of Fatima and Her Message.
They had prepared their souls in a short time for this battle by their lives of prayer and sacrifice, by their invoking the prayers and merits of Jesus and Mary. They sought to obey in their own lives, all Our Lady wanted them to do. Our Lady returned the favor by strengthening them for this battle.
They didnít start running printing presses, but they would not deny seeing Our Lady. They would not falsify Her message, and they would rather have died than do that. They were put to the ultimate test, being carried out one at a time, to be boiled in oil, so they believed, until they were dead. We also should, at least in some way, imitate them by refusing to be silent about the Message of Fatima.
Even though most of us have limited means to make the Message known, we all have some means. Remember that the 5,000 people who came in July came as a result of the 50 people who were there in June. And the 15,000 people who came in August were a result of the 5,000 July witnesses telling their friends and neighbors in between July 13 and August 13. And the 30,000 who came in September were the result of the 15,000 people talking to their friends, and so too the 70,000 who came in October. And there would have been a lot more had it not been for the opposition of the government forces and opposition from some Catholic clergy at the time.
Each of us can do our little bit, and I believe we are bound to do what we can. Because as the Bishop of Regensburg, Bishop Graber, said "Knowing that the world can be utterly destroyed by the terrible weapons of mass destruction today and knowing too that this can be averted by prayer and penance as the Most Holy Virgin reminded us at Fatima, it is my sacred obligation to utilize these twin means of salvation, prayer and penance. Neglecting them I incur guilt in the destruction of the peoples. The omission of prayer and penance ó I say this in all seriousness ó is a crime against humanity." 20
And I would say that knowing as I do that the nations can be annihilated and the whole world enslaved unless the Holy Father performs the consecration of Russia, I would be guilty of a crime against humanity for not at least passing on the truth of this. And so let us do our part to make the Message of Fatima known, understood, appreciated and obeyed. And at the same time, let us not accept the false argument that the Message of Fatima is only a private revelation and carries no obligation whatsoever.
Obligation to Speak Up to Priests, Bishops,
Cardinals and the Pope
And I might add one further thing. The argument is given that we must not disturb the Holy Father, after all he is only one individual and heís tired of hearing about petitions. And this has been said, I believe among others, by the Bishop of Fatima, from the pulpit, and so forth, years ago, at least.
Iíd like to point out that the pastor of a parish church, when he accepts his commission to be a pastor, accepts it willingly. When he accepts willingly, he also accepts not only the honor, the role, the stipend, but he accepts the responsibility, the duties that go with it. And if heís told at midnight one night "Your parishioner, Mr. Smith, is dying and he wants the last sacraments", he canít really say "Well, Iíll do that tomorrow." He has the obligation before God, as pastor, to go to that man and to administer the sacraments to that parishioner as long as heís worthy of them.
Even St. Alphonsus points out that the parish priest has the obligation, even at risk to his own life, to give the sacraments to his parishioners. That is his obligation as pastor.
But that doesnít just apply to parish priests. That also applies to bishops. Bishops, when they become in charge of a diocese, take that responsibility on willingly. And also it goes for the Pope himself.21 He has accepted to become Pope. He takes on the role as pastor of all souls. And part of that pastoring requires responding to Our Lady of Fatimaís Message. So while it may be inconvenient for our bishops ó or it may be inconvenient for the Cardinals and the Pope, although I donít think it is very much ó the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church and the members of the hierarchy.
It was Pope John Paul II himself who said that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church.22
He said that publicly in his sermon at Fatima on May 13, 1982.
And so itís important for us to not be deterred by the well-intentioned remarks of people who say donít sign a petition, or donít ask the Pope for the consecration. They may be well-intentioned, but it is our duty, it is our right. As the Second Council of Lyons has defined ó and the First Vatican Council has defined ó it is our right to seek a ruling in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction.23
Itís important then for us to remember that Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church, all the members of the Church, including the Pope and the bishops. And we have been told the consequences of ignoring it: "If My requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated." There is no other choice. We must speak up, we must petition and we must pray for the Consecration of Russia. We must insist that even the Pope is bound before God to obey because the Consecration of Russia is essential.
1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q2, Art. 6.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q2, Art. 5.
3. Daniel 9:24-26.
4. Isaias 53:2-12 and other prophecies throughout the Old Testament.
5. John 3:19-21, John 5:23, John 5:36-47, John 10:24-26.
6. May 13, 1967.
7. "According to the divine plan, Ďa woman clothed with the suní (Apoc. 12:1) came down from Heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a motherís voice and heart: She asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that She was ready to lead them safely to God. ...
"Later Francisco, one of the three privileged children, exclaimed: ĎWe were burning in that light which is God and we were not consumed. What is God like? It is impossible to say. In fact we will never be able to tell peopleí. God: a light that burns without consuming. Moses had the same experience when he saw God in the burning bush. ...
"ĎAnother portent appeared in Heaven; behold, a great red dragoní (Apoc. 12:3). These words from the first reading of the Mass make us think of the great struggle between good and evil, showing how, when man puts God aside, he cannot achieve happiness, but ends up destroying himself. ...
"The Message of Fatima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the Ďdragoní whose Ďtail swept down a third of the stars of Heaven, and cast them to the earthí (Apoc. 12:4)." From Pope John Paul IIís sermon of May 13, 2000.
8. Father M. Laffineur, Star on the Mountain, (published with permission of ecclesiastical authority, November 20, 1967, Newtonville, New York) p. 70.
9. Bishop Rudolph Graber, "Why this Pall of Silence Regarding Fatima?", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 19, February-April 1986, pp. 4-5; or see it also on our web site at www.fatima.org/library/cr19pg04.html.
10. Father Joseph de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D., "The Churchís Duty in the Face of the Fatima Message", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 9-10, October-December 1982, pp. 9-10; or in the article on the web at www.fatima.org/library/cr09pg08.html.
12. FrŤre Michel de la Sainte Trinitť, The Whole Truth About Fatima - Vol. III: The Third Secret, (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1990) p. 507. See also "Authentic Prophetic Interview With Sister Lucy of Fatima", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 19, February-April 1986, p. 11; or on the web at www.fatima.org/library/cr19pg03.html.
13. "Nevertheless, in order that the obedience of our faith might be in harmony with reason, [Rom. xii. 1] God willed that to the interior help of the Holy Spirit there should be joined exterior proofs of His revelation, to wit, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies, which, as they manifestly display the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain proofs of His divine revelation adapted to the intelligence of all men (can. iii and iv [see below]). Wherefore, both Moses and the Prophets, and most especially Christ our Lord Himself, showed forth many and most evident miracles and prophecies, and of the Apostles we read: ĎBut they, going forth, preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.í [Mark xvi. 20] And again it is written: ĎWe have the more firm prophetical word, whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place.í [II Pet. i. 19]"
"[Canon] III. If anyone shall say that divine revelation cannot be made credible by outward signs, and therefore that men ought to be moved to faith solely by the internal experience of each, or by private inspiration; let him be anathema.
"[Canon] IV. If anyone shall say that miracles are impossible, and therefore that all the accounts regarding them, even those contained in Holy Scripture, are to be dismissed as fabulous or mythical; or that miracles can never be known with certainty, and that the divine origin of Christianity is not rightly proved by them; let him be anathema." Vatican Council I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, April 24, 1870. Taken from the book Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, (TAN Books and Publishers) pp. 224, 235-236. See also Dz. 1790; Dz. 1812; Dz. 1813; D.S. 3009; D.S. 3033; D.S. 3034.
14. Available from the Fatima Center for $9.95. See our address in "Help Us Spread the Fatima Message".
15. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was a religious in the Convent of the Visitation at Paray le Monial in the province of Burgundy, France. She lived from 1648-1690. She was recognized as a saint even while she was still alive; thus King Louis XIV, the King of France at that time, should have obeyed the message as having come from God Himself.
16. King Louis XVI, the grandson of King Louis XIV who had been the recipient of the message of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, was stripped of his power by the French revolutionaries and later executed by the guillotine.
17. Message of Jesus to Sister Lucy in August of 1931 in Rianjo, Spain as documented in Fatima ante La Esfinge by Father Joaquin MarŪa Alonso, Ediciones "Sol de FŠtima", Madrid 1979, p. 97. cf.: Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima in Luciaís own words, page 200.
18. "Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isaias 5:20).
19. Letter dated May 18, 1936, in Memůrias e Cartas da Irma Lucia, (Porto, Portugal, 1973, edited by Father Antonio Maria Martins) pp. 414-415.
20. Father Nicholas Gruner, "World Peace Depends on the Catholic Bishops and You", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 11-12, May-July 1983, p. 4; also on the web at www.fatima.org/library/cr11pg03.html.
21. On these points, see Father Grunerís article "By This Means" , Parts I-II, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 23, September-October 1987, pp. 2ff, 9ff; or on the web at www.fatima.org/library/cr23pg02.html and www. fatima.org/library/cr23pg09.html.
22. Pope John Paul II said, "The appeal of the Lady of the Message of Fatima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the Message imposes a commitment on Her." LíOsservatore Romano (English Edition), May 17, 1982, p. 3. See also "13 May: Pope John Paulís Homily at Mass in Fatima", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 9-10, October-December 1982, p. 7; or on the web at www.fatima.org/library/cr09pg05.html.
23. First Vatican Council (1870), Dz. 1830, D.S. 3063; Second Council of Lyons (1274), Dz. 466.
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