Drama at Fatima
Shrine Authorities Disrupt Pilgrimage of Reparation
by John Vennari
“I think they would have been more intelligent to leave us alone,” said Bishop Richard Williamson. “As it is, they fired up a sense of combat in quite a few combative Catholics.”
A unique Pilgrimage of Reparation was organized this Summer to make public reparation for the desecration of the Fatima Shrine.
On May 5, 2004, SIC television, a national network in Portugal, aired a report showing that Hindus were permitted by the Shrine Rector to commandeer the sanctuary. The Fatima Crusader published photographs from the broadcast of this event.
During this ceremony, a Shastri (Hindu “priest”) at the Catholic altar in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions chanted a prayer for peace to the false gods of Hinduism. A Hindu congregation chanted Hindu responses.
This public defilement called for public atonement. On August 21 and 22, thousands of concerned Catholics from around the world, in a pilgrimage organized primarily by the Society of Saint Pius X, converged on Fatima to make this Act of Reparation. I traveled to Portugal for the event with a pilgrimage organized by Father Gruner’s Fatima Center.
A History of Hostility
From the time that the Hindus desecrated the Sanctuary — and even before — Fatima Shrine Rector Luciano Guerra has been hostile to traditional Catholics protesting the new pan-religious spirit now present at the Fatima Shrine.
The November 1, 2003 Portugal News reported that Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra described traditional Catholics who opposed the new interfaith orientation as “Old fashioned, narrow-minded, fanatic extremists and provocateurs.”1
Likewise, the May 7, 2004 Notícias de Fátima, a newspaper at Fatima friendly to Rector Guerra, published an article that included statements from Rector Guerra and a Brother Fernando Valente. Here Brother Valente said that those Catholics who opposed the new ecumenism “have to be considered, on a mental and spiritual level comparable to the Taliban”;2 a statement calculated to make us look as unreasonable and barbaric as possible.
Then on October 13, 2004, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima derided those Catholics who oppose the new ecumenical program as Aenemies of Fatima.”3
This hostility reared its head during the day of reparation on August 22, 2005.
August 22, 2005
Photos 1 and 2:
An Irish Brother attempting to remove the microphone from the Sisters disrupting the prayerful reparation, was rudely grabbed and dragged from the sanctuary.
Thousands kneeled in front of the Capelinha, praying the Rosary and chanting Latin hymns amidst the Shrine-planned obstruction which attempted to disrupt the holy hour of reparation.
The four nuns who were forced by Shrine officials to disrupt the reparation by singing other hymns over the microphone in an attempt to drown out the prayerful thousands.
A Cold Reception
On the previous day — Sunday, August 21 — a solemn High Mass was celebrated for the pilgrims in a field about a mile from the Fatima Shrine. Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, was celebrant. Then on Monday, a low Mass was held at the same outdoor site, followed by a procession to the Shrine.
Upon arriving at the Shrine, the hundreds of priests, four bishops, many religious, and thousands of faithful, confronted a barricade that blocked their way to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, even though the SSPX had made an agreement with Shrine authorities to be at the Little Chapel at that hour.
This coincided with another oddity. We arrived at 1:30 p.m. as had been long-planned and announced, and the Shrine had their cleaning women vacuuming the sanctuary. One priest who has often been to Fatima said he never saw this before — women vacuuming the sanctuary in the middle of the day.
The men from the procession opened up the barricade themselves, and the huge crowd took its place in front of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. We never entered the Chapel itself. The four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X knelt in front of the Little Chapel. The ensemble of pilgrims chanted the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and then began to pray the Rosary in Latin.
At about the third decade of the Rosary, four nuns from the Fatima Shrine approached the podium in the sanctuary, as if they were going to start a ceremony of their own. We had just finished a decade, so we began to sing Christus Vincit. Immediately after we started our hymn, the nuns from the Shrine began to sing over the microphone a different hymn from ours, in an attempt to disrupt our prayers and drown us out.
It was a dramatic standoff. We stood at full height and sang louder. The nuns continued the challenge, singing their own hymns over the microphone. It was as bizarre as it was childish. Tension mounted. We were outraged that the Shrine representatives would hurl such contempt at our group, which was merely praying the Rosary at the Fatima Shrine.
This “got the Irish up” of an Irish Brother who stepped over the small outside wall around the Little Chapel and made his way toward the nuns. His plan, he later told me, was to pull the microphone away from these peculiar Sisters treating us with derision.
As he approached the nuns, he was seized by Shrine guards. A scuffle ensued. Various pilgrims in the crowd gasped in horror. Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta from the SSPX rose to his feet to establish calm. The guards released the Brother. The Shrine nuns withdrew from the sanctuary and we continued our prayers.
Blast Them Out!
Within two minutes, the Shrine authorities retaliated.
Sacred music suddenly began to blast from the Shrine’s sound system. It was full volume, so loud that I could barely hear the Rosary recited by the people around me. The entire esplanade vibrated from the Shrine’s state-of-the-art sound system, designed to project sound to hundreds-of-thousands of people.
Later, a hotel owner who has been in Fatima for twenty years, and whose establishment is a twenty-minute walk from the Shrine, said he has never heard Shrine music from his hotel before. Today was the first time.
It was Sacred music used as a weapon against traditional Catholics. Clearly, the Shrine authorities blasted the music to drown us out and drive us out.
They may have drowned us out, but they did not get rid of us.
We continued the Rosary as the music blared. The bishops, priests and people renewed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pilgrims sang a final hymn to Our Lady and broke into applause while doing so. Then the entire group solemnly processed from the Little Chapel.
The Act of Reparation was concluded. We completed what we had set out to do, despite the Shrine authorities’ clumsy attempt at disruption.
“They Provoked ...”
Afterwards, I interviewed priests and bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X for their reaction.
Australia’s Father Kevin Robinson said,
“We’ve just witnessed an incredible scene. This is the power of Tradition over the devil-inspired new religion. I think everybody here is very happy to have experienced the Consecration of the Society. And please God, we can overcome these modernists.”
I asked Father Robinson if he sensed that when the Shrine authorities cranked up the music, it strengthened the resolve of the entire group. It bolstered everyone to stand taller, pray longer and sing louder. “That’s exactly what happened,” he responded, and added,
“They provoked us to pray more, to pray for their conversion. This is the place where conversions happen.”
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X said,
“We had, during our little Act of Reparation, a very, very nasty reaction from the side of the Sanctuary. They provoked, but there was a happy end.”
The happy end he refers to is the fact that the priests and pilgrims did not budge. They completed the Act of Reparation as they had set out to do.
Father Geraldo Zendejas, Prior of Saint Ignatius Retreat House, said,
“We came here for a public Act of Reparation. And we received the answer from them (the Shrine). They want to silence us. Everybody’s accepted here, even the Hindus. But today, we were rejected. We were 4,000 people just praying on our knees for the glory of God.”
This is true. Under Rector Guerra, Hindus were welcome to pray at the altar. Interfaith Congresses were held at the Fatima Shrine’s conference center. Anglicans have conducted retreats at the Shrine. But Traditional Catholics, who believe everything the Church has always taught and practiced, are not welcome.
Father Jean Violette, District Superior of Canada, made a similar point:
“I’m sure if we would have worn turbans, the Rector would have greeted us at the Statue. We all would have held hands, and we would have had a nice ecumenical meeting. Instead, we were received very rudely — a typical Novus Ordo ecumenical gesture.”
Father Anthony Mary, from the traditionalist Redemptorists in Great Britain, said,
“I heard from Father Schmidberger that everything had been organized. They (at the Shrine) knew we were coming.” Conditions, he explained, were agreed to with the Shrine regarding the public prayer in front of the Little Chapel. He said:
“We kept the conditions to do the consecration and Father Schmidberger said that he was very surprised that they broke the conditions (the agreement). And once they at the Shrine broke the conditions of keeping the arrangement, then, well, we actually had to break through the barriers to get through. So I think the whole attitude of them was despicable. The least they could have had was the simple, natural charity to let us say our prayers and not try to interrupt them. But it’s wonderful that we managed to do what we had to do and I’m sure graces will be won for the Fraternity (SSPX), for Tradition, and reparation done as well.”
Readers will recall the events leading up to this dramatic confrontation. It actually began not with the 2004 Hindu ceremony, but with an interfaith Congress held at Fatima — and hosted by Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra — on October 10-12, 2003.
The Interfaith Congress was called “The Present of Man, the Future of God, the Place of Sanctuary in Relation to the Sacred”. I travelled to Fatima to cover the event and reported on it in previous issues of The Fatima Crusader.4
Speakers at the Congress included the modernist Father Jacques Dupuis, who openly scorned infallible Catholic doctrine in his Saturday afternoon speech.
Father Dupuis falsely claimed that all religions are positively willed by God. In defiance of the Council of Florence’s infallible teaching that “outside the Church there is no salvation”, Father Dupuis said, “We need not invoke here that horrible text from the ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442.”
Father Dupuis further claimed that members of all religions are “equal partners” in the Reign of God; that the Holy Ghost is present and operative in the “sacred books” and “sacred rites” of Hinduism and Buddhism.
He also said that the purpose of interreligious dialogue is not to convert the non-Catholic to the one true Catholic Faith, but rather to make “a Christian a better Christian, a Hindu a better Hindu”.
Tragically, the entire Congress warmly applauded Father Dupuis’ speech. Joining in the applause were the Fatima Shrine Rector Luciano Guerra, the Apostolic Delegate of Portugal, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, and Cardinal Policarpo of Lisbon. (I was sitting right up front and captured Rector Guerra’s applause of Father Dupuis on video.)
Against Catholic Truth
Father Dupuis’ assertions defy defined Catholic dogma. The Council of Florence defined infallibly that “Pagans, Jews, heretics and schismatics” are “outside the Catholic Church,” and as such, “can never be partakers of eternal life unless before death, they are joined to the Catholic Church”, the one true Church founded by Our Lord.5
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, faithful to this truth, teaches, “infidels, heretics, schismatics and excommunicated persons” are “excluded from the Church’s pale”.6 In other words, Protestants, Jews, Muhammadans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., are not part of the Catholic Church, which is the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X, centuries later, presents the same truth without change. It teaches, “Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics and excommunicated persons.” It states further, “No one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.”7
This is the consistent teaching of the Church and the consistent teaching of the Popes throughout the centuries.
Pope Gregory XVI taught “It is not possible to worship God truly except in Her (the Catholic Church); all who are outside of Her will not be saved.”8
Blessed Pope Pius IX taught likewise, “It must be held as a matter of faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.”9
Pope Pius XI, in his liturgical prayer for the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, said, “Be Thou King of those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry, or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and Kingdom of God”.10 This demonstrates that idolaters (such as Hindus) and Muslims are not part of the Kingdom of God, as Father Dupuis falsely asserts.
Further, Pope Pius XII in his 1950 Encyclical Humani Generis, complained against modernist theologians who “reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”11
Pius XII further taught that neither sanctity nor salvation can be found outside of the Catholic Church.12
Father Dupuis openly spurned these teachings, and for doing so, received the grand applause of Shrine Rector Guerra, the members of the Portuguese hierarchy, and the rest of the Congress.
Sunday, the next day of the Congress, featured a forum in which members of various religions — Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Anglican, Orthodox, Roman Catholic — each gave a presentation on the importance of “Sanctuary” within their belief system. This, in effect, put all false religions on the same level with the one true religion, and put the shrines built on the superstitions of paganism on the same level as the sacred Shrine built to honor the true visitations of Our Lady at Fatima.
The session was presided over by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, Prefect of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Far from censoring Father Dupuis’ troublesome speech, Archbishop Fitzgerald said, “Father Dupuis yesterday gave us the theological foundation for our relations with other religions.”
In other words, Archbishop Fitzgerald praised Father Dupuis’ heresies.
When it came time for members of various religions to talk about “Sanctuary”, the most disturbing presentation came from a Catholic priest introduced to us as Father Arul Irudayam, Rector of the Catholic Marian Shrine at Vailankanni, India. He boasted that, as a further development of ecumenical camaraderie, Hindus now perform their heathen rites inside the Catholic Church. The conference delegates, including Archbishop Fitzgerald, were delighted that this Marian Shrine was now used for idolatrous rituals.
False “gods” Invoked at Fatima
Writing about this in December 2003, I said that it was only a matter of time before pagan religions were allowed to desecrate the Fatima Shrine.
Only five months after I wrote these words, SIC television — on May 5, 2004 — reported that a group of Hindus were permitted to conduct a Hindu prayer ceremony in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima, with the consent of Shrine Rector Guerra.
Now, no one could object to non-Catholics visiting the Fatima Shrine. This is how non-Catholics learn of our religion, and it is also an occasion for the seeds of possible conversion to be planted. But what happened at Fatima was well beyond a mere visit.
As mentioned earlier, the Hindu “priest” stood at the Catholic altar — the place reserved for the Catholic priest alone — and chanted the Shanti Pa prayer — a prayer to false gods — the Hindu congregation chanted a response.
“Don’t Expect the Satanic to Look Satanic”
Unfortunately, many people — including many Catholics — do not understand why the event at Fatima was an act of desecration. Living in an age permeated with religious indifferentism, they look at the Hindus chanting peacefully and ask “What’s the problem?”
The answer is found in a warning given by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He cautioned, “Do not expect the satanic to look satanic.”
Archbishop Sheen gave the example of Judas at the Last Supper. Scripture tells us that the devil had “entered in” to Judas, and Judas went out “and it was night”.
What did the Apostles think when they saw Judas leave? They thought he had either gone to buy something for the Passover, or to give money to the poor. He looked like a sacristan or a social worker. But the devil was in him. Here’s the lesson: don’t expect the satanic to look satanic.
Now in the case of Hindus: Even though they may be well-meaning, and even though their various ceremonies appear to be quiet and peaceful, theirs is actually a religion that worships devils.
Saint Francis Xavier, the great missionary to India who knew Hinduism intimately, said “All the invocations of the pagans are hateful to God because all of their gods are devils.”13
Saint Francis is neither exaggerating nor speaking on his own authority. He is basing his words on the infallible truth in Sacred Scripture: “The gods of the Gentiles are devils.” (Psalm 95:5)
Shrine Rector Guerra thus allowed the Catholic sanctuary at Fatima to be used for the worship of devils. This is inexcusable and blasphemous. It is in defiance of the First Commandment, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.”
This public desecration called for public reparation. This is why it was necessary for Catholics around the world to gather at Fatima and make a formal act of expiation. In truth, the Little Chapel should be reconsecrated.
Yet when concerned Catholics gathered at Fatima to make this Act of Reparation, they met with fierce hostility from the Fatima Shrine officials who treated them in a rude and offensive manner.
The Need for Reparation
Despite this hostility, let us continue to make Acts of Reparation, particularly the Five First Saturdays. Our Lady asked us to perform this devotion in reparation for the blasphemies against Her Immaculate Heart.
If we have never done the Five First Saturdays before, or if we started and did not finish them, now is the time to make this Act of Reparation.
And if we have done them in the past, it is time to do them again, particularly in light of the derisive attitude prevalent at the Fatima Shrine against traditional Church teaching and against those Catholics who uphold this teaching.
Clearly, the “diabolic disorientation” grips the minds of those now in control of Fatima. The need for reparation has never been greater.
The importance of the Five First Saturdays was reiterated by Our Lord in a little-known communication to Sister Lucy. We read in Sister Lucy’s Memoirs that Our Lord said in 1939:
“Ask again insistently for the propagation of the Communion of Reparation in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the Five First Saturdays.
The time is coming when the rigor of My justice will punish the crimes of diverse nations. Some of them will be annihilated. At last the severity of My justice will fall severely on those who want to destroy My reign in souls.”14
1. Portugal News, online edition, November 1, 2003.
2. “Radical Movements Against Ecumenism”, Notícias de Fátima, May 7, 2004.
3. “Bishop admits ‘enemies’ of Fatima,” Público, October 13, 2004.
4. “Fatima to Become an Interfaith Shrine? An Account from One Who Was There”, J. Vennari. The Fatima Crusader #75, Winter 2004. On the web at www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/sprep111303.asp.
5. Bull Cantate Domino issued by Pope Eugene IV at the Council of Florence, February 4, 1442.
6. Catechism of the Council of Trent, McHugh & Callan Translation, (Rockford: Tan, Reprinted 1982), p. 101.
7. The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X, (First published in 1910, republished by Instaratio Press, Australia), pages 31 and 41.
8. Encyclical Summo Jugiter, May 27, 1832.
9. Denzinger, 1647.
10. Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Pius XI, published along with the Encyclical Quas Primas, “On the Kingship of Christ”, 1925.
11. Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII, August 12, 1950, No. 27.
12. The Racolta, Benzinger Brothers, Boston, 1957, number 626.
13. Saint Francis Xavier, James Brodrick, S.J., (New York: Wicklow Press, 1952), p. 135.
14. Documentos, p. 465.