What Does It All Mean?
Are the Fatima apparitions authentic? Did the Blessed Virgin really bring us a message from Heaven through Sister Lucy and her young companions? There are compelling reasons to answer these questions in the affirmative.
The content of the Message of Fatima fits seamlessly into the doctrine of the Catholic faith. It addresses central issues of sin and reparation and puts its stamp of approval on the traditional devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God, in His wisdom and love for us all, has sent His Own Mother, as He sent His Own Son, for the salvation of mankind.
Significantly, everything in the Message of Fatima, even the details of the apparitions described by Sister Lucy, is fully consistent with the most hallowed traditions of the Church. If Fatima is controversial today, it is not because it contradicts orthodoxy in any way, but rather because it affirms Tradition in the face of modernist innovations imposed upon the faithful in the so-called "spirit of Vatican II".
The clear and unambiguous focus of Fatima on traditional Catholic doctrine is the surest sign of its authenticity. However, there are additional reasons to regard the Fatima apparitions as authentic.
Sister Lucy's memoirs indicate that Our Lady made a number of predictions which were subsequently borne out by real events. These include:
• The end of World War I
• The start of World War II
• The rise of atheistic communism in Russia
• Communist expansionism and persecution of the Church
• The spread of communist-inspired errors such as abortion on demand — which was first legalized in communist Russia in the first decade after the 1917 revolution.
Perhaps the most convincing prediction of all, however, is the one Our Lady made twice about performing a miracle in October "so that all may believe."
The Miracle of the Sun, an absolutely unique event in the modern history of the Church, certainly had that desired effect on those who witnessed it, even with atheists and non-believers.
When God certifies a message as being true, we can be absolutely certain that it is, in fact, the truth because He is all-Holy and, therefore, incapable of lying. God cannot be mistaken in His information because He knows everything.
Thus when God, Who knows everything, Who is incapable of lying, tells us something explicitly, then we know absolutely that what we are being told is completely true. We would be guilty of a sin against the Holy Ghost if we rejected known truth which He revealed to us.
At Fatima, On October 13th, God gave us His indisputable Miracle of the Sun. He would not cause such a stupendous miracle to take place in witness of an unimportant message. Nor would God, for such a tremendous message, allow it to be lost or corrupted in any significant ddetail by choosing a messenger lacking the necessary virtue or ability to report Our Lady's message faithfully and accurately.
Thus, in our time, if we are not to be guilty of a sin against the Holy Ghost, we must accept the Fatima Message as being true and very important.
In 1930, the Church officials who exhaustively investigated the Fatima events for a dozen years ended by formally pronouncing them "worthy of belief." Such formal declarations about miraculous events are extremely rare.
There followed a period during which the Church actively encouraged devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and growing numbers of Catholic clergy and laity took to heart the messages Our Lady had conveyed through the three children.
Six successive Popes have also proclaimed their belief in Fatima. The present Pope, John Paul II, has gone much further, crediting Our Lady of Fatima with saving him from an assassin's bullet, and openly declaring that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church. He has gone there on pilgrimage three times, each time on the 13th of May, first in 1982, again in 1991, and just recently in 2000.
Added to these prophecies which have already occurred, many would add the current troubles within the Church, which are widely believed to be the subject of the Third Secret. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, already, on November 11, 1984, in a published interview, which he read and approved before it was published, stated in Rome that the Third Secret document concerns:
"A radical call to conversion, the absolute gravity of history, the dangers threatening the Faith and the life of the Christian, and therefore the world. And also the importance of the last times."
Regarding the reasons for withholding the Third Secret, the Cardinal explains that "if it is not published at least for the time being, it is to avoid confusing religious prophecy with sensationalism. But the things contained in the Third Secret correspond to what has been announced in Scripture."
The steep decline in attendance at Mass in recent decades, and the current state of doctrinal dissent and confusion within the Church, are entirely consistent with the interpretation of the Third Secret given above. As we begin this millennium, Our Lady's requests have gone unheeded, and the misfortunes She predicted are now unfolding at an accelerated rate.
At a Vatican press conference on June 26, 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger and Monsignor Bertone expressed the view that the Third Secret of Fatima pertains entirely to events in the past and has no reference to the future. However, Cardinal Ratzinger conceded that Catholics are not bound to accept this interpretation of the Secret.
In light of the masterful scholarship that has been done on the Third Secret1, as well as Cardinal Ratzinger's 1984 comments, it seems more likely that the Third Secret is a prediction of the present-day crisis of Faith.
The Message of Fatima gives central importance to the consecration of Russia. Heeding this request, we are told, is essential to achieving peace in the world, and saving millions of souls. Failing to heed it means the opposite — violent death, continuing war, famine, misery, chaos in the Church, and the certain eternal damnation of millions of people.
The dreadful record of the 20th Century, which has seen more wars and apostasy than any other in human history, will continue in this millennium. With so much at stake, it is no wonder that those who truly know the full implication of Fatima are ardent advocates of having the consecration performed exactly as Our Lady requested.
This requires the Pope, acting in concert with all the Catholic bishops of the world, to solemnly and publicly consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a formal ceremony on the same day at the same hour. This ceremony could be done by all the bishops and the Pope in one place — say for example St. Peter's Square in Rome, or it could be done by each bishop simultaneously, in union with the Pope, doing this solemn public ceremony in his own cathedral.
The Catholic Faith tells us that there are two certain ways of knowing that a revelation comes from God.
First-class miracles are acts of power that only God can do. When God performs a miracle as a testament to the truth of a certain message then it is God Himself Who is certifying the truth of that message.
Our Lord condemned the cities of Bethsaida and Corozain for one reason, because they refused to believe in Him after the miracles He worked in their presence. "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 would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
"But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you." (Luke 10: 13-14)
Obviously, if God expected those cities to believe in Him after He worked those miracles then God expects the people of the 20th Century, also to believe the Fatima Message.
Not all the people of Bethsaida and Corozain saw Jesus' miracles but everyone at least knew someone who had witnessed them and the facts were widely known in those two cities. Everyone had the opportunity to verify Our Lord's miracles in the two cities, so that the refusal of the people to believe in the miracles justified condemning those who refused to believe and to obey.
If that was true for the people of Corozain and Bethsaida, then it is also true of the people of the present day, regarding the miracle of Fatima. There were 70,000 witnesses to the Miracle of the Sun, believers and unbelievers alike. The testimony of 70,000 witnesses cannot be denied by any person of good will who inquires into the matter. The refusal to accept such a prodigious and indisputable miracle would, objectively speaking, be culpable and worthy of condemnation by Our Lord Himself. Indeed, the very purpose of miracles, such as the Miracle of the Sun, is to leave no room for legitimate doubt that God has spoken.
Another reason we must believe is because of the clear prophecies from Fatima that have come true. Only God knows the future with certainty. At Fatima, He told us the future, much of which has already come to pass, which verifies the truth of the Fatima Message. Specifically we have at Fatima the prophecy of the Miracle of the Sun taking place at the time, date and place specified, the name of the Pope (Pius XI) predicted before he was elected, the beginning of WWII predicted and the rise of Russia, just to mention a few of the prophecies that have been fulfilled.2
Beyond the consecration of Russia, the Message of Fatima also requests particular Marian devotions, including the daily Rosary, the Five First Saturdays, and the wearing of the Brown Scapular, which Our Lady held in Her hand when She came as Our Lady of Carmel in the sixth apparition. These devotions are the special means Heaven has provided for individuals to contribute to the saving of many souls and bringing peace to the world.
"And you, have you revealed to the world
what the heavenly Mother asked you?"
…Jesus to Sister Lucy
1. The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III, The Third Secret by Frère Michel (900 pages) available from the Fatima Center.
2. For a more complete explanation of the obligation to believe and obey Our Lady's request, see pages 83-157 of the book World Enslavement or Peace, available from the Fatima Center.
The 20th Century has been one of the worst in history, filled with horrible examples of man's atrocities to man. The Message of Fatima predicted these terrible events, and provided a way to avoid them.
Yet, as this new millennium begins, the message remains unheeded, and the suffering continues worldwide. People who know the Fatima Message now look to this millennium in the hope that Our Lady's urgent requests will be heard, understood and heeded. The peace of the world, or the "annihilation of nations" hangs in the balance.
Now that you have been introduced to the urgent Fatima Message, you cannot ignore it. There is much more information about Fatima. Many books and booklets are available from various sources, including the Fatima Center.
Now that you know that the salvation of many souls, world peace and the very survival of entire nations hangs in the balance, you need to do your part — first of all by heeding the Fatima Message yourself, by praying the Rosary daily and fulfilling Our Lady's other requests that She addresses to each of us. And secondly, to the extent your duties permit, you must help others to know, appreciate and obey the Fatima Message by passing on this booklet and other Fatima materials.
For more in-depth information about the Message of Fatima and for other free booklets on Fatima and how you can help, contact:
The Fatima Center
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Call toll-free: 1-800-263-8160 or 1-905-871-7607 Fax: 1-905-871-3646
On the Web: www.fatima.org