Why we should go to Fatima in 2017
Roberto de Mattei
March 8, 2017
Those who go on pilgrimage to Lourdes do so in order to immerse themselves in the supernatural atmosphere of the place. The Grotto in which Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 and the pools where the sick continue to be immersed in the miraculous water, are fringes of a blessed land in a now ungodly society. Those who go to Fatima, do so, on the other hand, to gain spiritual refreshment not from a place, but from a heavenly Message: the so-called "secret" Our Lady entrusted to the three little shepherds a hundred years ago, between May and October in 1917. Lourdes chiefly heals bodies, Fatima offers spiritual direction to disorientated souls.
On May 13th 1917, at the Cova de Iria – an isolated place of rocks and olive trees, near the village of Fatima in Portugal "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun"* appeared to three children who were watching over their sheep, Francesco, Jacinta and their little cousin Lucia dos Santos. This Lady revealed Herself as the Mother of God, who was entrusted with a message for mankind and who gave an appointment to the three shepherd-children for the 13th of every subsequent month until October. The last apparition ended with a great atmospheric miracle, named "the dance of the sun", seen even from 40 kilometres away, by tens of thousands of people.
The secret revealed by Our Lady at Fatima contains three parts which form an organic, coherent whole. The first is a terrifying vision of hell into which the souls of sinners precipitate; the mercy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary counters this punishment [and is] the supreme remedy offered by God to humanity for the salvation of souls.
The second part involves a dramatic historical alternative: peace - fruit of the conversion of the world and the fulfilment of Our Lady's requests, or a terrible chastisement would await mankind if it remained obstinate in its sinful ways. Russia would be the instrument of this chastisement.
The third part, divulged by the Holy See in June 2000, expands on the tragedy in the life of the Church, offering a vision of a Pope and bishops, religious and laity struck dead by persecutors. Discussions that have opened up in recent years about this "Third Secret" risk however in obscuring the prophetic force of the Message's central part, summed up in two decisive sentences: Russia "will scatter her errors throughout the world" and "in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph".
On July 13th 1917, when Our Lady spoke these words to the children of Fatima, the Bolshevik minority had still not attained power in Russia. This would happen some months later with the "October Revolution", which marked the start of the world-wide diffusion of a political philosophy which proposed to unhinge the foundations of the natural, Christian order of things. "For the first time in history – stated Pius XI in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris of March 19th 1937 -- we are witnessing a struggle, cold-blooded in purpose and mapped out to the least detail, between man and all that is called God." (2 Thess. 1,4)". In the 20th century there are no other crimes comparable to Communism for the temporal space in which it spread, for the territories it embraced, for the quality of hate that it was able to secrete. After the collapse of the Soviet Union these errors were as if released from the wrapping that contained them to propagate like ideological miasma over the entire West, under the form of cultural and moral relativism.
The errors of Communism seem to have penetrated inside the Catholic Church itself. Pope Bergoglio recently received in the Vatican the exponents of the so called "popular movements", representatives of the new Marx-Ecologist left and expressed his liking for the pro-Marxist regimes of the Castro brothers in Cuba, Chàvez and Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and José Mujica in Uruguay, forgetting Pius X's words in the encyclical Divini Redemptoris of March 19th 1937, which defined social-Communism as "intrinsically perverse".
The Message of Fatima represents an antidote against the penetration of these errors. Six Pontiffs have recognized and honoured the apparitions in the Cova da Iria. Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI visited the sanctuary as Popes, while John XXIII and John Paul I went there when they were still Cardinals, Roncalli and Luciani. Pius XII, sent his delegate, Cardinal Aloisi Masella, there.
Those who have never been to Fatima shouldn't miss out going this year, the centenary of the event. Those who have been there once or even more, [should] do as I have done: return. At least until Easter you will not find masses of pilgrims. Ignore the new sanctuary, which in its ugliness brings to mind the one of San Pio da Pietrelcina at San Giovanni Rotondo, and limit their visits to the Chapel of the Apparitions and the old sanctuary, which shelters the mortal remains of Blessed Jacinta and Francesco, and, the Cabeco hill, where, in 1916, the Angel of Portugal anticipated the apparitions to the three little shepherds.
Fatima discloses to its devotees the significance of the tragedy of our times, but also opens hearts up to an invincible hope in the future of the Church and all of society.
*according to their words
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana
Also ran in "IL TEMPO"