Thursday, May 11, 2017

DO CATHOLICS HAVE TO BELIEVE IN FATIMA?

Fatima mystery blends visions, miracles and supernatural


This Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Marian Apparitions to three small children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

The three shepherd children, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto and their cousin Lucia aged between 7 and 10 at the time, said the Virgin Mary appeared to them six times in 1917 and confided to them three secrets. The first two described an apocalyptic image of hell, foretold the end of World War I and the start of World War II, and the rise and fall of Soviet communism.

In 2000, the Vatican disclosed the long-awaited third secret, describing it as foretelling the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt against St. John Paul II in St. Peter's Square.

John Paul credited the Virgin Mary with saving his life. One of the bullets fired at him rests in the crown of the statue of the Virgin at the shrine.

Pope Francis will canonize two of the children, Fransciso and Jacinta Marto both who died at a very young age. Sister Lucia lived to be over 100 having died just a few years ago. She isn't being canonized at this time.

I remember loving the stories of apparitions when I was a child and Fatima and Lourdes both were pushed heavily by the pre-Vatican II Church of my youth but also later. However, we all know that spirit of Vatican II heterodox didn't like these kinds of devotions because these  did not fit their ecumenical agenda. Mary and the cult of the saints were out because these were a part of that dreadful pre-Vatican II Church which was unenlightened unlike the spirit of Vatican II folks were.

Catholics are free not to believe in Fatima even though the Church approved the apparitions and all popes have endorsed it including Pope Francis who is very pre-Vatican II when it comes to popular piety. He is the Pope Benedict of pre-Vatican II peity when it comes to renewal in continuity.

However, while Catholics don't have to believe in the actual apparitions, they may not dismiss these or try to convince those who believe these that they are wrong. And those who believe in them can't present the apparitions to non-believers as fact. These apparitions are approved and liturgically recalled in the Roman Calendar.

However, the teachings of Fatima that are a part of the Deposit of Faith are required to be believed by all Catholics, not so much the dire predictions, many of which have come true, but the messaage that is a part of the Deposit of Faith.

DISCUSS.

A secular take on Fatima from the Associated Press:
NICOLE WINFIELD and BARRY HATTON,Associated Press Wed, May 10 3:28 AM PDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) — When Pope Francis travels to the Portuguese town of Fatima this weekend, he will be lending his blessing to a religious phenomenon that has captivated Catholics for a century: It involves visions of the Virgin Mary, supernatural meteorological events and apocalyptic prophesies of hell, Soviet communism and the death of a pope.

For doubters, the Fatima story is a trumped-up tale built around hallucinations. For believers, Fatima's message of peace, prayer and conversion from sin is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago, when three illiterate shepherd children first reported seeing visions of the Madonna.

The pope will canonize two of those children on Saturday and is likely to make his own Fatima message of peace and conversion as a weapon against secularism and the persecution of Christians today.

Here are details about Francis' Friday-Saturday trip to Fatima.

____

WHAT HAPPENED AT FATIMA?

The three shepherd children, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto and their cousin Lucia aged between 7 and 10 at the time, said the Virgin Mary appeared to them six times in 1917 and confided to them three secrets. The first two described an apocalyptic image of hell, foretold the end of World War I and the start of World War II, and the rise and fall of Soviet communism.

In 2000, the Vatican disclosed the long-awaited third secret, describing it as foretelling the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt against St. John Paul II in St. Peter's Square.

John Paul credited the Virgin Mary with saving his life. One of the bullets fired at him rests in the crown of the statue of the Virgin at the shrine.

Portuguese church officials initially doubted the veracity of the apparitions. Many doubters, though, became believers after the so-called "Miracle of the Sun" on Oct. 13, 1917. According to legend, the Fatima "seers" had predicted that the Virgin would perform a miracle that day, and tens of thousands of people flocked to Fatima and saw what witnesses reported was a vision of the sun "spinning" in the sky and zigzagging toward Earth.

The Portuguese church declared the visions authentic in 1930.

___

WHAT WAS GOING ON AT THE TIME?

At the time of the apparitions, Europe was still in the grip of World War I and Portugal's Catholic Church was facing a crisis after Portugal became a republic in 1910.

The republican government introduced a host of anti-clerical laws, including prohibiting religious teaching at schools. Priests and bishops were exiled.

In that context, the visions helped reinvigorate a persecuted church, giving it "a strong eruption of the supernatural in that difficult moment," said Monsignor Carlos Azevedo, who headed the commission that compiled 15 volumes of Fatima documentation.

Church officials point to the reported secrets about a Second World War, the dangers of Soviet communism and the persecution of the pope and Christians in general, as evidence of Fatima's prophetic message.

____

WHAT DO PEOPLE DO IN FATIMA?

Like the shrine at Lourdes, France, Fatima draws millions of pilgrims from around the world — about 6 million annually — to give thanks to Our Lady of Fatima, or to pray for help.

Many walk to the town, which is 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Lisbon. Some complete the last few hundred meters (yards) on their knees. Others toss wax limbs into a fire beside the Chapel of the Apparitions as they recite prayers for healing.

The shrine also contains dozens of shops where trinkets are sold alongside rosaries, bibles and assorted images of the Virgin Mary, including one that changes color with the weather.

____

WHY IS THE POPE GOING NOW?

Initially, Francis had planned to travel to Fatima merely to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions. Francis added a bonus event to his visit by announcing in March that he had approved the miracle needed to make saints of Francisco and Jacinta Marto — who died of influenza within two years of the initial apparitions.

He will be the fourth pontiff to visit Fatima, after Pope Paul VI marked the 50th anniversary in 1967, John Paul came three times and Benedict XVI visited once, in 2010.

After becoming a nun, Lucia became the main raconteur of the Fatima secrets. She died in 2005. In February of this year, Portuguese church officials completed the first phase of her beatification cause by sending more than 15,000 pages of testimony and documentation to the Vatican for review.

____

WHAT WILL THE POPE DO IN FATIMA?

Francis arrives on Friday afternoon and meets privately with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

After a spin in his popemobile at Fatima, he'll pray at the chapel dedicated to the apparitions and send a greeting out to the crowd, which is expected to number up to 1 million people.

On Saturday, Francis meets with Prime Minister Antonio Costa and visits the basilica built on the site where the children reported the first apparition. He'll celebrate the canonization Mass in the main square, lunch with his bishops, and return to Rome in the evening.

___

Barry Hatton reported from Fatima, Portugal.

9 comments:

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."However, we all know that spirit of Vatican II heterodox didn't like these kinds of devotions because these did not fit their ecumenical agenda. Mary and the cult of the saints were out because these were a part of that dreadful pre-Vatican II Church which was unenlightened unlike the spirit of Vatican II folks were."

That is true of certain folks within the Church.

However, the good news is that our Vatican II Era Popes never wavered in their promotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Faithful.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Marc said...

I've tried and tried to care about the Fatima stuff, but I just don't. Admitting as much would make me anathema to most so-called Traditional Catholics who seem to believe that Fatima explains everything that is happening in the Church right now. So be it.

rcg said...

Marc, I feel your pain. But people to be smacked by obvious at times. And I can think of few things as comforting (although unnerving) as a visit from the Queen of Heaven.

Mark Thomas said...

Holy See Press Office...Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Fatima:

Dear People of Portugal,

Only a few days remain before our pilgrimage, mine and yours, to the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. These are days of joy in expectation of our encounter in the home of Mary our Mother.

I know that you wanted me to come to your homes and communities, your towns and cities. I received all your invitations! Needless to say, I would have liked to accept every one of them, but I cannot. So I am grateful even now for the understanding with which the various Authorities accepted my decision to restrict my Visit to the usual events associated with a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima. I want to meet everyone at the feet of the Virgin Mother.

It is as the universal pastor of the Church that I would like to come before the Madonna and to offer her a bouquet of the most beautiful “blossoms” that Jesus has entrusted to my care (cf. Jn 21:15-17). By this I mean all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood, none excluded.

That is why I need to have all of you join me there. I need to feel your closeness, whether physical or spiritual; the important thing is that it come from the heart. In this way, I can arrange my bouquet of flowers, my “golden rose”. With all of us forming “one heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God” (Apparition of June, 1917).

“With Mary, a pilgrim in hope and in peace”. That is the motto of our pilgrimage. It contains an entire programme of conversion. I am happy to know that in anticipation of that blessed moment, the culmination of a century of blessed moments, you have been preparing yourselves by intense prayer.

Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts. I thank you for all the prayers and sacrifices that you offer daily for me. I need them, because I am a sinner among sinners, “a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips (Is 6:5). Prayer gives light to my eyes and enables me to see others as God sees them, and to love others as he loves them.

In his name, I will come among you and have the joy of sharing with everyone the Gospel of hope and peace. May the Lord bless you, and the Virgin Mother protect you!

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

His Holiness Pope Francis...General Audience, May 10, 2017 A.D.

“This coming Friday and Saturday - God willing - I will go as a pilgrim to Fatima, in order to offer Mary the temporal and eternal fate of humanity and ask through her intermission for the heavenly blessing.

“I ask all of you to join me, as pilgrims of hope and peace: May your hands in prayer continue to support mine.

“May the greatest and best of Mothers watch over each one of you, for all your days until eternity.”

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

From The Weather Channel...forecast for Fatima:

-- Friday...90 percent chance of rain.

-- Saturday...60 percent chance of rain.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Maybe our Blessed Mother will duplicate the miracle of the sun ☀️/ Son!

Dialogue said...

The Fatima message was a message for Twentieth century Catholics, especially insofar as that century coped with the lasting legacy of the calamitous First World War. The message obviously reinforced basic Catholic truths and practices, but its main point was specific to a particular historical path.

Joe Potillor said...

As I like to say, the Rosary is wonderful, but it does not have a monopoly on Marian devotion, Private apparitions, we're not obliged to believe them.

Some people elevate Fatima to a near dogmatic declaration of the Church, I think it's a bit problematic if the Faith was to depend on private apparitions.