Fatima Center Pilgrim Eyewitness Report:
Fatima Shrine Officials
by Tom Massett
It’s been 35 years since I last visited Fatima in 1970. Much has changed there since that time. The Little Chapel or Capelinha now has a huge wooden roof that extends over the Chapel itself. As one faces the Chapel, a glass encased statue of Our Lady of Fatima is mounted on a pedestal. And on the right side is an altar or table where Mass is celebrated. Formerly, a door in front of the Chapel was opened and Mass was celebrated inside and on the exact spot where Our Lady of Fatima appeared. Also, the Statue of Our Lady was not enclosed in glass.
One big change though is the new, so-called interfaith building, that is now under construction. This circular building totally blocks the view of the whole plaza and Basilica which could be seen by those who drive or walk by its opening. It formerly gave the impression of open arms or welcome to those pilgrims entering the Shrine grounds. Many pilgrims used to walk the whole length of this plaza on their knees, while praying the Rosary.
Of course, Fatima has grown during these 35 years and the village of Aljustrel, where the children lived, has grown also. Both have become much more commercialized. But to me, the most shocking sight was the immodesty in dress of the women, especially all over the Shrine grounds. It made one wonder if those wearing immodest attire really knew the whole Fatima Message. Did not Our Lady say that certain fashions would be introduced that would offend Our Lady very much and that most souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh? Modesty is no longer the fashion at Fatima. I think it fair to say it appeared the same throughout Portugal. I don’t recall seeing any of this in 1970.
On Monday, August 22, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mass was celebrated by Fr. Schmidberger, SSPX, in a rented field about one mile from the Shrine grounds. From there an orderly procession, led by cross bearer, priests, religious men, seminarians, four bishops, Sisters and more than three thousand men, women and children, marched through the streets of Fatima. Singing and praying as they went, the line stretched out more than a half mile. Local residents stood and gazed as the group walked by. It was an impressive sight.
This indeed was a historic event. These religious men, women, and the lay people with them, were not going to stand idle and let one of Our Blessed Mother’s holiest sites be desecrated by the false worship of Hindus without a response. And what better response than this public Act of Reparation? After all, the first of the Ten Commandments of God is: I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
St. Francis Xavier, who converted many of the Hindus of southern India to the Catholic faith, preached that the gods of the pagans are devils. And Hindus worship many false gods. St. Francis would first convert the children and then have them bring the statues of these idols to him and then destroy them.
Yet at Fatima in May 2004, the Hindus worshipped their false gods at the very site of Our Lady of Fatima’s appearance. What makes this even more outrageous is they did it with the approval of the Bishop of Fatima-Leiria and the rector of the Shrine! The words of the martyr St. John Fisher at the time of the Protestant reformation during the reign of King Henry VIII seem to apply here: “They have abandoned the fort, those who should have defended it.”
Upon reaching the spot where the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands, the procession was blocked by several barricades. These were finally removed by some French students and the bishops, religious and lay people all went to kneel in front of the Little Chapel, beyond the pews. The pews were already occupied by a group of some 50 to 100 persons, whom I believe were Portuguese nationals.
Pilgrimage of Reparation
Some of the thousands in procession to the Fatima Shrine to make reparation for the sacrileges committed there under the approval of Shrine authorities.
The Rosary was begun. It took some time for the thousands of people to gather around. I moved left to try to gain a good location from which to videotape the event. The crush of people did not afford me a good spot, so I moved to the back of the Little Chapel where there was a glass door being held open by a security guard. I asked entrance, which he denied. So, I then moved to the other side, which is the right side as one faces the Chapel. Here there was some room and so I stood with my back facing the Basilica. Soon after I began shooting video, two security men walked out from my right and took positions at each corner of the three-foot concrete wall in front. After a few minutes, a group of four nuns emerged from my right and climbed the platform next to the table or altar. One heavy-set Sister approached the podium while the other three sat on a bench next to it. The first raised her hand as if attempting to silence the praying crowd. We kept praying. The same security guard who wouldn’t let me in the door came over and said something to the Sister at the podium. She again tried to silence the crowd but they kept on praying. The man came back, motioned to another Sister sitting on the bench to get up and join the first one at the podium. It was obvious, this man was in charge and Sister number one was beginning to lose heart in whatever she was attempting to do.
At this point, our group had just finished a decade of the Rosary and in between were singing, Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat! At the same time the two Sisters at the podium, with the use of the microphone, began to sing a different song. Our group repeated, Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus, Christus, Christus Imperat!
The Sisters tried to sing louder only to be met with louder voices of those who were determined to make Reparation. One might say it was Tradition’s version of dueling banjos.
It was a tense moment. Two men in cassock and surplice arose from their knees and walked up to the front gate. One of the security men came over and a short discussion took place between the guard and one religious. The other, an Irish Redemptorist named Brother Columba, just decided he had enough of this stepped over the gate, and headed in the direction of the singing nuns at the podium. He later said his intent was to unplug their microphone. He didn’t get far when the guard who was in conversation, ran over and attempted to restrain the Brother. The Brother momentarily broke free and tried to get to the microphone but by then 4 or 5 other security guards caught him and roughly threw him back over the wall. Several men nearby got up to defend the Brother and pushing and shoving ensued. His Excellency, Bishop de Galeretta, SSPX, intervened and brought calm to the situation, thereby preventing what might have become a much more nasty confrontation.
The Sisters by this time retreated to the right side of the Little Chapel, followed by the extra security guards. A man whom I assumed to be with our group, walked up and began videotaping the security men who were milling around in back. They were soon joined by a priest who seemed to be connected with the sanctuary. He was young and looked very angry.
The Rosary was continued when suddenly, from the huge loudspeakers mounted on the sides of the Basilica, music blared out so loud that it hurt my ears. Our group continued to pray.
The man shooting video kept filming the people at the back of the Chapel. He had his left side against the three-foot concrete wall, while holding his camera to his eyes. I watched as the young priest and the security guard walked up to him on the other side of the wall. Without warning, the priest and the guard grabbed this man’s camera out of his hand and nearly yanked him across the wall. This was due to the fact the man had the camera strap around his neck and their violent pulling caused this. The man fought back, pulling on the strap in the opposite direction, to retain what was rightfully his! A different man, one of our group, ran up and began videotaping this unprovoked attack by Shrine personnel. When the priest and security guard saw that they were being filmed, they raised their hands in the air and backed off several steps, as if they had just learned that the man from whom they were trying to steal his camera, had leprosy. The two men with the video cameras then retreated a healthy distance from those would-be thieves. The loudspeakers continued to blare; the Rosary and the prayer of Reparation were concluded, although many could not hear it due to the loudspeakers.
What transpired that day at Fatima may seem to some as funny. To me it made me feel both sad and glad.
Sad, to see Catholic against Catholic. Are these the days Our Blessed Lord warned about, when we would see brother against brother, father against son and daughter against mother? Hindus and members of false religions are shown undeserved respect while Catholics who defend the honor of Our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Fatima are not allowed to pray in peace at Her holy site? What would St. Francis Xavier say were he to speak of Hindu worship at Fatima?
Glad, because Reparation was made. Hopefully, Our Good Lord will accept it and mankind will not receive the brunt of His terrible wrath that we all deserve by our many sins. I am reminded that all the Ten Commandments of God are arranged according to their importance. And the first being first because it is the most important.
“I am the Lord Thy God. Thou shalt not have false gods before Me.”
The Jews of the Old Testament suffered most whenever they worshiped false gods. It seems as if history is repeating itself within the leadership of the Catholic Church promoting this false ecumenism.
We all owe Father Gruner, John Vennari and the SSPX bishops, priests, religious men and women as well as the laymen from many diverse nations for the sacrifice in making a true Act of Reparation a reality. May God have mercy on us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us poor sinners.