Following is a translation of the text of the Open Letter to the Portuguese People which we, at The Fatima Crusader, circulated to many of the areas that resulted in a NO vote for the Abortion Referendum.
An Open Letter to the People of
Portugal on the February 11th
Referendum on Abortion
The Duty of Catholics to Vote “No!”
by Christopher A. Ferrara
To the People of Portugal: As the February 11th national referendum on the “liberalization” of Portugal’s abortion law fast approaches, we address this Open Letter to you with utmost urgency. For the people of Portugal stand at a crossroads, and in a few days their choice of direction will determine not only the fate of countless innocent lives in the womb, but also the fate of our nation itself.
Our Lady of Fatima’s Promise
“In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved …” With these words the Virgin Mother of God, at Fatima, declared God’s special providence for the people of this great Catholic nation. Our Lady promised us that because of this special providence, Portugal would hold on to the Catholic faith even if the people of other nations should lose it in the decades to come.
Did we not see God’s special providence in the miraculous transformation of Portugal — religious, moral and even economic — following our nation’s consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Portuguese bishops in 1931 and 1938? Indeed, has Portugal ever seen better days than those which followed those remarkable consecrations?
Many Portuguese still remember the words of Manuel Cardinal Gonçalves Cerejeira, the Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon, expressing the gratitude of our people to God and Our Lady for the special favors They had bestowed on Portugal: “Since Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917 ... A special blessing of God has descended upon the land of Portugal ... one cannot fail to recognize that the invisible hand of God has protected Portugal …”
Our Duty to God
and His Blessed Mother
But with God’s blessing comes a high obligation. God’s eternal choice of Portugal as the place of Our Lady’s apparitions in 1917, and the later Consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, signify not only God’s special favor, but also a corresponding duty to Him on the part of the Portuguese people. For as Our Lord Himself declares in Holy Scripture: “To whom much is given, much will be required. …” (Luke 12:48)
When Our Lady promised that “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved,” She did not mean that the Portuguese people need do nothing, that the Faith would be preserved in our nation whether or not we ourselves adhere to the Faith and defend it against its enemies. No, She meant that by a singular grace of God the people of this nation would act in accordance with their duty as Catholics to maintain the Catholic fidelity of Portugal.
And notice that Our Lady did not say “In the Portuguese Church the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved.” Rather, She said that in Portugal— in our nation — the Faith would be preserved even if some Catholics, including certain priests and bishops were to be unfaithful to Her.
Catholics cannot accept the absurd and evil idea that a people can be Catholic without their nation being Catholic. Do we not say in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”? Did Our Lord not say to His apostles: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”? Do we not recite in the sacred liturgy for the Feast of Christ the King: “May all nations serve Thee, O Lord”?
With Our Lady’s promise that Portugal will remain faithful comes, therefore, a grave duty on our part: It is we, the people of Portugal, who must cooperate with God’s grace and serve God in order to fulfill Our Lady’s promise, and thereby spare Portugal the horror of what John Paul II called the “silent apostasy” that has affected so much of Europe today. Indeed, the immense pressure the European Union is imposing upon Portugal to liberalize abortion is intended to force Portugal to join the rest of Europe in this “silent apostasy.” We cannot allow this to happen.
The February 11th Referendum:
A Test of Our Faith
The moment has come when Portugal is being put to a test of Our Lady’s promise. On February 11, 2007 the Portuguese people will be asked to vote on whether to “legalize” abortion-on-demand during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and to authorize the government of Portugal to pay for the destruction of innocent children in their own mothers’ wombs.
For any people — but above all for a Catholic people especially beloved of God — such legislation is madness. Nothing is more basic to the “dogma of the Faith” of which Our Lady of Fatima spoke than the teaching of the Church that she speaks infallibly on matters of faith and morals. From the very first days of the Church’s existence she has condemned abortion as the killing of innocent human beings.
The coming referendum, therefore, is nothing less than a test of our Faith in God and His Holy Church. And it is a test of Our Lady’s promise that in Portugal the Faith will always be preserved — a test that we must pass, with the aid of God’s grace.
Abortion is a Crime
No Nation Can “Legalize” or Support
When the Second Vatican Council denounced abortion as “an abominable crime” it did so infallibly, in line with the entire Tradition of the Church. Pope John Paul II, whose entire pontificate was dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, likewise spoke infallibly against abortion. Quoting Vatican II, His Holiness taught in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae that abortion and other modern evils, such as euthanasia, “are infamies indeed. They poison human society ... Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator.”
The Portuguese people cannot under any circumstances accept the “legalization” of abortion. As the Church has always taught, an immoral law is no law at all. St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and all the Popes, saints and doctors of the Church are of one voice in declaring that Catholics must not only refrain from supporting an immoral law, they must actively oppose it and refuse to follow it, even should it be enacted.
As Pope John Paul II further declared in Evangelium Vitae: “[L]aws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life [and] are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity.... Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.”
We Are the Legislators
God Will Call to Account
The Church, speaking with the authority of God Incarnate, has always condemned the legislator who fails to protect innocent life, especially in the womb. As Pope Pius XI warned in his encyclical Casti Connubii: “Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother’s womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from earth to Heaven.”
In this case, the people of Portugal are being asked to serve as legislators by their vote on February 11th. It is up to us to protect innocent lives in the womb. And woe to any of us who votes “to betray them to death at the hands of doctors or others.” God will not be mocked. He will exact His justice from any citizen of Portugal who votes in favor of the shedding of innocent blood.
Every Man and Woman
— Catholic or Not —
Must Oppose Abortion
And let no one say that the Church’s condemnation of abortion is binding on Catholics only, or that the upcoming vote is a “political” or “social” matter and not “religious”. Politics is governed by morality, and morality is derived from the natural law.
Abortion is a gross violation of the natural law, which is written on the heart of every man and woman and which tells us what is right and what is wrong. Anyone no matter what his religion or nationality — knows that killing innocent human beings is wrong. No one can honestly deny that a child in the womb is an innocent life, who has done no wrong that would cause him to deserve to die.
The Church has authority from God Himself to explain and defend the natural law in political society — all the more so in the Catholic country of Portugal.
The Church teaches that no legislator in any country is exempt from the natural law, and that the laws of all the nations, especially the Catholic nations, must conform to the natural law. As John Paul II reminded us, quoting Saint Thomas once again: “Every law made by man can be called a law insofar as it derives from the natural law. But if it is somehow opposed to the natural law, then it is not really a law but rather a corruption of the law.”
All men and all societies are governed by this teaching of the Church. It applies always and everywhere, because the whole earth and everything in it is subject to God and His law.
Millions for “Legal” Abortions,
But Nothing for Schools and Hospitals!
It must also be said that the proposed “liberalization” of Portugal’s abortion law is contrary even to purely “secular” logic. The Prime Minister has been closing hospitals, maternity wards and schools, and by the hundreds, because he says there is no money for them, but he is willing to spend countless millions of our tax dollars on the state-subsidized abortions that would result if the proposed measure were adopted. What accounts for this fanatical commitment to abortion by the politicians, which elevates an evil act above even the most basic needs of our nation?
We, the people of Portugal, must demand that our taxes be spent on education and medical care for the sick, not the extermination of children in the womb to suit the dictatorial “culture of death” that has spread throughout the European Union and now threatens to overcome Portugal.
Do Not Be Fooled
by the Wording of the Question!
The advocates of legalized abortion in this country have been very clever in their wording of the question to be submitted to the Portuguese people for their vote on February 11th:
“Do you agree with the depenalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, if it is done by the woman’s choice, within the first ten weeks, in a legally-authorized health establishment?”
How “reasonable” they have tried to make the abominable crime of abortion seem to the average voter. The wording of the question falsely suggests that all that is involved is the “depenalization” of a “woman’s choice.”
But what is this “choice”? It is the “choice” to kill an unborn child in the womb, which is deceptively presented as an “interruption of pregnancy.” An “interruption” that destroys an innocent human life — a child of God made in His image and likeness.
No one has the right to make such a “choice”! Such a “choice” is always a grave sin and a heinous crime in the sight of God. No nation can condone this sin, this crime, in its legislation — least of all Portugal, the place where the Mother of God Herself appeared to warn the whole world of the consequences of sin.
Note also how the wording of the question cunningly induces the voter to approve the killing of unborn children because the killing will take place in a “legally-authorized health establishment.” No “health establishment” can be “legally-authorized” to kill innocent life in the womb. The very idea that a “health establishment” can engage in the destruction of innocent human life is an insane and intolerable insult to God Almighty and His Most Holy Mother, conceived without sin.
Do Not Be Swayed by False Appeals
to Sympathy for Women!
People of Portugal, do not allow the advocates of murder in the womb to prey on your sympathy for women in distress. No woman can ever be helped by the destruction of her own child. Abortion is a terrible mistake that haunts women for the rest of their lives.
The abortion propagandists say that it is "cruel" to penalize a woman for having had an abortion in difficult circumstances. But there is nothing "cruel" about legally protecting the lives of innocent unborn children, especially when so many women suffer pressure from companions, parents and friends to abort their children that they, deep down, would have liked to have and love. How many children were saved, and how many mothers have born children who have become loved by them, only because there was, up to now, a law that prevented the destruction of innocent lives by protecting women who otherwise would have been subjected to various pressures?
What is really cruel for the woman is the abandonment of legal protection for the innocent unborn, which now is being proposed, this abandonment that would leave both mother and child exposed to the risk of the terrible consequences of abortion.
Remember that there are two victims of every abortion: the child in the womb and the mother who allows a “doctor” to destroy her child in a “legally-authorized health facility.” How great the grief and the guilt of such poor women, who will never know and love the precious children they bore as gifts from God!
How can the law fail to prevent women from doing such terrible harm to themselves and their unborn children by the evil of abortion? In all the countries of the world can be found women who have had abortions and have had the courage to come forward to warn their fellow women: Do not make the mistake that I made! Keep your child, love your child as God intended, and you will never regret it!
The people of Portugal must heed the voices of these women, these victims of the crime of “legalized” abortion. No Catholic worthy of the name can claim that any woman is “helped” by the “choice” of abortion. That is an argument from the devil who is the Father of Lies.
We Must Vote NO!
What place does the Catholic nation of Portugal have for such a monstrous proposal as this? No place at all! The only answer the Portuguese people must give to the question to be presented to them on February 11th is No!
No! in the name of God.
No! in the name of His Blessed Mother.
No! in the name of all that is holy.
Do not be deceived by the suggestion that the people must abstain from this vote in order to prevent a quorum from appearing at the polls. Unless the people speak their mind against this evil proposal, the agitators for abortion in this country will see to it that the Portuguese parliament enacts a liberal abortion law — and many more innocent children will die.
Can we not see how the Prime Minister and the members of his government have abandoned all pretense of impartiality, even forgetting that the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic recognizes the right to life, and are openly campaigning in favor a “Yes” vote on February 11th?
The Portuguese people must make it clear by their vote that they will NOT stand for any such tyrannical imposition of an immoral law on our nation — a nation solemnly consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima.
Portugal’s Fate Hangs in the Balance
When Our Lady came to Fatima near the end of World War I, She warned all humanity that World War II and persecution of the Church would be the punishment for man’s rebellion against God: “The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius Xl. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
Portugal was spared the ravages of World War II and the terrible persecution of the Church in neighboring Spain during the Spanish Civil War. She was spared these divine punishments because her bishops, faithful to God and His Mother, two times consecrated Portugal to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and because the Portuguese people were faithful to those consecrations.
If God punished the whole world except Portugal with war and persecution of the Church some sixty-eight years ago, what will be Portugal’s fate today if she turns her back on God, spurns her consecration to Mary, and “legalizes” a crime that has claimed more innocent lives than all the wars in human history combined?
If God inflicted such harsh punishments on the whole world even before abortion was “legalized” in almost every nation, what punishment will God inflict on Portugal if our nation, consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Holy Mother of God, should approve the slaughter of innocents in the womb?
Can any serious Catholic doubt that Portugal would be cursed if she went the way of all the other nations that have unleashed the bloody tide of abortion-on-demand?
Our Lady of Fatima is Watching Us
Do not be fooled, good people of Portugal! The coming referendum is a battle for Portugal’s soul. The outcome of that battle will determine whether our nation is poisoned by the spread of the abominable crime of abortion, and whether we, the Catholic people of Portugal, will be guilty of the supreme dishonor of our very Creator, to Whom we owe life itself and to Whom each of us must answer on the Day of Judgment.
Our Lady of Fatima is looking down upon us at this critical moment in the history of our nation. She is waiting to see how many of us will act to fulfill Her promise that in Portugal the dogma of our Faith will always be preserved. She is waiting to see what our answer will be to the question to be posed to us on February 11th. She is waiting to hear the people of Portugal answer with a resounding No! — no to the evil of abortion, no matter how alluringly this evil is packaged in the euphemisms of the clever propagandists who drafted the question.
If we, the Catholic people of Portugal, were to give any other answer but “No” to the question before us on February 11th, our nation would offend God and would be punished for that offense. In giving our answer we must pay no heed to the seductive voices of politicians or even priests or bishops who might lead us astray with ambiguous words. We must heed only God, His Blessed Mother and the truths of our Catholic Faith. And when we do so, the promise of Our Lady of Fatima to Portugal will have been kept.
People of Portugal, do not betray the Blessed Virgin. Vote as She would have you vote, and by your unmistakable No affirm Portugal’s place as a nation most favored by the Mother of God.
People of Portugal, follow the advice of Our Lady of Fatima and pray the Rosary daily for the intention of defeating this perverse measure!
Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for Portugal on February 11th!