(Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God (Ex. 20:4,5.)
Situated some 70 miles north of Lisbon in Portugal, is the bustling tourist town of Fatima. To devout Catholics worldwide, its name ranks in affection with that other famous Marian shrine, Lourdes nestling in the Pyrenees in France.
On a personal note, some years ago I was informed by a Catholic priest, about a parishioner of his who owned a flat in Fatima. How amazing! It seems this man had an enduring devotion to the cult of the Virgin Mary and just wanted to be 'close' to the scene of her so-called 'appearances' to three little children.
Yet how different it all seemed in 1917, when three peasant children, Lucia (10), Jacinta (7) and the only boy, Francisco (8), when they later claimed, under severe questioning, that they had indeed witnessed the image of the 'Virgin Mary' and had (so they claimed) spoken to them of awful events yet to happen.
Today Fatima boasts the financial luxury of 16 hotels including a travelodge and a Sheraton hotel. As well as assorted guesthouses taking up the slack for weary pilgrims.
So what did happen on a bright May day morning in 1917 in Portugal? At that time Europe was the charnel house of the terrible First World War. Three long terrible years had brought stalemate to the general high command. Massive poverty and deprivation gripped Europe, none more so than Portugal. Famine was rife. Life was cheap.
Somehow, during May 13th 1917, various 'assorted angels' and a striking vision of 'Mary' deemed to appear to three innocent Portuguese children. However, it does seem that the children, a year before, were rewarded with a vision of 'The Guardian Angel of Portugal.' This same apparition would later offer each child the Eucharist by saying, "Take and drink the body of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men."
Now this is strange. Because the Catholic church in the past, recognised that Catherine of Siena, an Italian mystic nun had performed the same unusual task, but it is odd for children to be used like this by an angel. (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:13-16.)
Yet 80 years have now transpired since the 'vision of Mary' appeared and supposedly spoke to the three nervous children.
Interestingly the first five 'visions' always occurred on the 13th of the month, starting in May. (John Paul II would also take a bullet on that auspicious date!)
During the third vision, according to Lucy in her memoirs, the children were given a graphic vision of Hell. And a verbal warning, that "the holy father will consecrate Russia to me." Russia, warned the vision, must convert. Presumably of course to Catholicism. Lucy was finally warned by 'the lady' to tell no one of this, only Francisco.
That same year Lenin instigated the communist Russian Revolution on October 17th. The cold war was about to be put in motion. So began the winter of their discontent.
Pope Pius XII
This controversial wartime pontiff would broadcast a radio message in 1942 concerning Fatima. However, in 1952, he would through the decree of papal infallibility, promulgate the Feast of the Assumption. This offers no higher devotion to Mary, in the fact that she was 'assumed into heaven' after her death in complete body or no decomposition.
This would be the second time that the ex-cathedra ruling would be used or has been used since Pius, who would later be called 'the Pope of our lady of Fatima.'
Pope John XXIII
He seems to have continued in his personal affection for this Marian cause. As cardinal of Venice he made a private visit to the shrine, whether he visited Lucy is not known. Now Venice seems to figure dramatically in the election of future popes. Both John XXIII and John Paul I came from that beautiful city.
On becoming pope in 1958, John gave his blessing to Fatima naming it 'pilgrimage of marvels.' A rather strange title it seems, which has never been explained. However, in 1959 it was reported that the pope sent for the small tin chest, in which is housed the controversial third secret of Fatima. A small typed label on it reads, 'Secret of the Holy Office.'
It seems only the incumbent pope has a key to open it. This is passed on to each new pope by the Secretary of State. Pius XII, it seems, had decided after much soul searching not to read this explosive document. It remained sealed. However, on deciding to read the hand written letter by Lucy, the pope, we are told by a very reliable source claimed that, "He trembled with fear and almost fainted with horror."
What could be in this awful letter? Or as an official Vatican press spokesman said, "He did not think it opportune to make this public." I wonder why! Nothing further concerning the Fatima letter comes from this wartime pope. Or if he ever read it again, nothing has been recorded.
Pope Paul VI
He would begin his torturous reign by sending to Fatima his predecessor's pectoral cross. On the day he became pope, he spoke of Mary who 'raised an altar at Fatima.' What he meant by this is unclear.
Many commentators attest to the fact that on knowing the third secret, Paul's depressions, from which he was known to suffer, increased. Interestingly on a planned visit to Fatima in 1967 (this was the year that the pope created both future popes, Luciano and Wojtyla as Cardinals, thereby putting them in the line as a future successors), was in itself very controversial. Again on the 13th of May he departed on Air Italia for Portugal.
It seems Paul managed to raise the wrath of the new Protestant brethren, now very much in the new ecumenical movement. They it seems wanted the role of Mary played down as decreed by the Second Vatican Council. But by going on this planned visit the pope was only supporting his view of her 'divine right' as an 'equal partner' with the Trinity.
To make matters worse, the left wing press, of which Paul was strongly aligned, reported that Fatima was in a fascist country, and headed by one of the world's worst leaders. And wouldn't this visit, they argued, somehow give papal approval to a non-democratic regime?
For Paul it was a difficult decision to make. But Paul had ventured this far. His mission, he argued, was for lasting peace if possible. He also gave an address on 'our lady and ecumenism.' This, it was felt, would placate the Protestant brethren.
His papal visit would be downplayed if possible for the 50th anniversary visit 'Mary's' appearance. The pope's stay would be brief. Paul would naturally visit the shrine (how could he do otherwise.) And as regards a meeting with the last member of the three children, it was decided that Lucy would travel from her enclosed convent to meet him for a private talk.
As an afterthought Paul referred her to a bishop. One must wonder why Paul behaved in this cavalier manner? Did he know something others only referred to, that Fatima was just a fake? (One has to wonder if Pope Lakota would be sympathetic to the so-called visions if the evidence had been placed on his desk?)
Either way, today in Fatima, the modern purpose built Paul VI Centre is very evident in promoting the Fatima story.
Pope Paul VI would die on 6th August in the remarkable year of three popes-1978.
According to his confessor, the late cardinal Deeza, the pope's small portable alarm clock, purchased all those years ago in Poland, did indeed ring at the moment of his death. Very strange! Also contrary to other press rumours, Paul did not die screaming but passed away calm and serene. (Some has raised questions about whether or not this troubled pontiff had a double, that conveniently replaced him. We can only wonder which one therefore died?)
And of the third secret? 'Believers claim it gives the date for World War Three, describing a holocaust in which several nations are wiped out, before that happens the reigning pope will have been assassinated' (Pontiff, by Thomas and Morgan-Witts.)
Certainly this terrible third secret seems to cause much anguish and concern to laity and clergy alike.
Pope John Paul I
This charismatic man who would be pope for a mere 33-days, seems to have been untouched by the third secret. But rumours did circulate after his death (or murder as some claim), that he too, had paid a private visit to Fatima and had even spoken to Lucy. She, it seems, informed him of a terrible event yet to happen in the future, perhaps to himself! How Luciana would have solved complex Vatican problems as pope, will never be known. Certainly his wish not to be addressed as Pontiff does offer some idea of where he wanted his church to be taken.
Pope John Paul II
This pope had always been a confirmed Marian follower. Some psychologists see the start of this when his mother died, leaving the young Karol to be brought up by a stern father. As a cardinal of the church and later pope, his devotion to the Mary had always been well known.
Embossed on his coat of arms was the single letter 'M.' Confirming to the entire world his ceaseless devotion to her. And indeed, this son from Poland, believed it was at her bequest he survived the bungled assassination attempt on his life on May 13th 1981, the feast in the Catholic church of 'Our Lady of Fatima.'
Part of that papal dilemma was resolved, when in 2000 on May 13th, cardinal Sodano, at the beatification of the two Fatima children, Francisco and Jacinta, disclosed something about the third secret. In the first secret shown to the three children in 1917, the apparition showed them a terrible vision of Hell and of many souls greatly suffering. The second secret less sensationally, predicts that Russia would one day return to Christianity.
Now this is interesting because before the Russian revolution that country was deeply religious and superstitious, with the Russian Orthodox Church fulfilling religion to all the Russian people. 'Holy Mother Russia,' was a popular expression, then and now. But with the third Fatima secret, the grist to the conspiracy mill has grown.
Hundreds of Internet sites now offer many different interpretations of what did happen in 1917. And that list just grows. The Vatican of course, does not dampen down any speculation, how could it?
In 1997 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger rather poured scorn on the mysterious third secret. He urged Catholics to reject "fantasies and secrets. Three popes have become acquainted (with the secret) and none of them has judged the opportune to make it public. They had good reason for their decision." So there!
I rather suspect that Ratzinger is attempting to halt any speculation of Lucy's handwritten note penned in 1944.
As Prefect of the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith (better known as the office that oversaw the Inquisition), I am sure he has read it and at the request of the pope, attempted to put a spin on it. But I'm not sure even this distinguished theologian can succeed here.
And what of its writer, Lucy the late nun. She apparently denied a few years before her death that she had seen a vision of the twin tower attack on 9/11 in New York. What she did claim in the Catholic churches English translation of her famous letter, is seeing a vision of the 'Holy Father' with others, climbing a steep mountain, topped by a cross.
She then claimed that he is 'on his knees at the foot of the big cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him' along with assorted religious clerics.
This, according to the Vatican, is a vision of the attempted shooting in St. Peter's Square in Rome of John Paul. Doesn't it all tie up now? And make some sense?
Step forward 'Fr.' Kramer, who on the Fatima.org website, calls this 'a Vatican whitewash.'
This clearly has nothing to do with John Paul II and a shooting in a half ruined city (obviously not Rome!)
Even Ali Agca who called the Vatican 'the enemy of God' expressed annoyance, by claiming that the church has altered this prophecy. And perhaps in doing so pointed the finger at him! But he did qualify it later by praising the pope!
So the circus rolls on, does it not?
In an interview with a Portuguese radio station some years ago Ratzinger said of Mary that, "She guides men toward her Son. That is what is essential." But I don't buy this. Only Jesus will bring souls to Himself. He does not need His mother for this important task.
At the wedding in Cana (John 2:1) she deferred to Him by saying, "Whatsoever he saith unto you do it."
This is the only recording in the Bible where Mary gives a command, so should not all Catholics take heed of her important words.
Or in John 14:6: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man commeth to the Father but by Me." He did not say to trust in saints, popes, or even His mother, however wonderful she may have been.
I simply do not believe Mary would, over the last two thousand years, appear at various Catholic shrines with frequent regularity promoting her views to innocent children, with the message that, "The Lord wishes to spread devotion to my immaculate heart through the world. Finally my immaculate heart will triumph."
What does this mean?
Soon after John Paul's assassination attempt, he publicly journeyed to Portugal to place, very 'reverently,' the bullet taken from his body and place it inside the crown of the statue of 'Our Lady of Fatima.'
I am also sure nothing would have stopped him from doing this act that he saw as very important.
What I do accept is that something very important, perhaps demonic did occur in 1917 to the three children. After all they never once wavered from their story, in spite of threats, imprisonment and deprivation of food.
Their story of what they saw that fateful year in Fatima never changed.
So what of the 'solar miracle' that over 70,000 people witnessed? Photographs at the time, and yes the media were there, show vast crowds sheltering under umbrellas, yet later after the apparition their clothes had dried! Not every witness that day was a Catholic or even sympathetic to the church.
Important scientific journalists did cover this unique event. Even then editors could smell a good story. Once such notable journalist dispatched to report on the event was the scientific correspondent from The Times of London.
His reports of the event went around the world.
One other prominent sceptic was the distinguished Dr. Joseph Garrett of Coimbra University:
"The sun disc spun around on itself on a mad whirl - then whirled wildly, it seemed to loosen itself from the firmament to advance towards earth as if to crush us with its fiery weight. Everything around was becoming darkened. All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me. It is for others to interpret and explain them."
Or again listen to Dr Formigao, another important witness to the fiery event. He would later recall that:
"Suddenly the rain stopped, the clouds were wrenched apart and the sun appeared in all its splendour. Then it began to revolve on its axis like the most magnificent freewheel taking the colours of the rainbow and sending forth multi-coloured flashes of light producing the most astounding effect."
Whatever it was, it was some event!
There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Garret witnessed something that I think cannot be explained. None of these important witnesses looked at an eclipse! It was much more than that. It certainly spooked these eminent scientists. However, what caused it to happen now brings us into the field of speculation.
Always dangerous territory to be in!
Fatima has always attracted controversy and suspicion. Only some years ago the shrine ordered a Portuguese bank to melt down some of its gold bars! Only then, embarrassed bank officials were to discover the Nazi insignia on some of the four bars weighing a total of 50 kilos.
They were all that remained from a batch weighing some 258 kilos that were used during the war and stored at the shrine.
One can only wonder if the shrine was a part of the infamous 'Rat Run' that aided prominent Nazis escape to Catholic South America. The so-called run was started after the war by bishop Hudal, himself a German Vatican diplomat. He and others certainly did aid fugitive Nazis escape the allies' justice that came at the end of the hangman's rope prepared by Albert Pierpoint. (Pierpoint had the distinction of hanging the last woman in England. Her name was Ruth Ellis.)
Many notable Nazis did take advantage of available Vatican passports to escape war torn Europe, including Adolph Eichman, Dr. Mengle, Franz Stangle, and Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon.
Some of the odour of that 70-year-old conspiracy still lingers. Recent Vatican apologists have failed to dismiss some of the Vatican's whitewash of what the third secret revels. Both Cardinals Ratzinger and Sodano can fabricate all they wish. Much of what they suggest does not add up and why should it? But truth is a funny thing; it always seems to rise to the surface.
What I do suspect is that it robs the full glory from the Saviour of the world.
Recent news that this shrine will be used for future interfaith services intrigues me. When I was growing up it was always referred to as Fatima. Today it has a Middle Eastern pronunciation. Now it is called F-A-T-I-M-A. She, if you did not know, was one of Mohammed's favourite wives or daughter's (depending of which Islamic scholar you talk to.) Moslems also downgrade the role of Jesus seeing Him as a minor prophet, not the Son of God, which is blasphemy to those of us that know Him personally.
But the ecumenical movement, of which I urge all Christians to get out of, has no worries about being yoked to such apostates.
Would the Apostle Paul have been aligned to these people? Of course not! (2 Cor. 6:14-18.)
Lucy, the last of the three children, died on 15th February, 2005, aged 97 years and as far as we know, still believing in what she saw that day in 1917 at Fatima. (Some have also suggested that she too had a double, with the real Lucy dying many years ago.)
The return of Christ the King to reign for a thousand years in Jerusalem will see once and for all an end to all hostilities that defame His name. All of these false religions will vanish like a puff of smoke. And remember Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour could return today, or tomorrow.
Are you ready to justify all these false religions to Him? I hope not for your sake and the sake of your precious soul.
Just recently I acquired a DVD of the 1952 Hollywood film The Miracle of our Lady of Fatima. It was the first time I believe that I have watched the film and seeing it made me realize that this year is the 96th anniversary of the so-called 'sightings' of angels and 'Mary' in Portugal.
One book that came into my possession as well is The Fatima Secret by Michael Hesemann, with an introduction by the well-known UFO chronicler, Whitley Strieber. UFO’S and apparition’s are always an interesting combination to any keen researcher of the paranormal, Marian or otherwise.
Coincidently as I write these words it is the 93rd anniversary of the premature death of one of the children, that being, Jacinta, on 20th February 1920. (Incidentally when her body was exhumed in 1935 as seen in a picture in the book her remains were un-decayed. Of the condition of Francisco’s body and its condition we are not informed.) So it seems an appraisal of what did or did not occur in 1917 seen by three related children in Portugal is needed.
Francisco, the only boy present, six times during the 'visions,' died in 1919 and for some strange reason it seems he did not hear from 'the lady,' offering information concerning the third secret, and another time he was unable to hear what she said but would be able to see her, all very strange indeed. Of course these are Hollywood child actors as seen in the movie who bear neither facially or vocally in anyway to the real children of Fatima, who witnessed something strange in the skies in 1917.
Fatima named incidentally after a young Muslim princess who died in Portugal is today a shrine of worship for Catholics and Muslims. This agrees with the set agenda of the current interfaith worship so admired today in the apostate ecumenical movement.
In the film seen during many scene’s in the town square can be noticed the statue of a replica of the feminine apparition that Bernadette claimed to see at Lourdes, so the children of Fatima would have been aware of its meaning and the message accepted and promoted by the Catholic church in their village.
As regards as to what did happen and occur in the Cove Da Iria on six separate occasions and witnessed by so many, has never been fully explained.
Apparently five popes kept the messages under lock and key. "We knew it must contain bad news…..if it had been joyous I would have been told about it," remarked the cardinal of Lisbon. More mystery it seems.
The film uses the revolving sun to some dramatic effect and one does wonder if time did really stop, sadly so much of the glory of what did happen in those days has excluded conveniently Christ the Saviour of the world and all at the expense of Mary. This is blasphemy of course.
In 'the third secret' one of the character's remarks that, "Lucy was a troubled girl. Her father was an alcoholic. She was left alone with her brother, her mother and a drunken father." This is a dangerous psychological condition for any child to be left in, perhaps seeking attention in a girlish manner. Again the 1952 film does allude to this sickness of her father but almost in a comical manner. Yet he owned land it seems where his sheep grazed so he wasn't a destitute peasant scratching a living from the soil. If indeed he later sold it to the Vatican, where the sanctuary is located today, it would have made him a very rich man.
And later perhaps creating certain envy and jealousy in the village, and of the additional attention his daughter would later receive from the world press, would not help matters either, small towns can breed jealousy and covertness, very quickly.
As regards the famous third secret according to the book The Fatima secret there seems to be some papal paranoia concerning the secrets that have and are to be revealed to the waiting faithful, who really should be reading their Bibles if they wish to understand and learn more about end times, especially portrayed in the Book of Revelation.
The film was made during the cold war era and reflects much of the communist hostility America was then using against Russia. So it almost has a government seal of approval granted to a grateful Hollywood I suspect.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31.)
The Fatima Secret, Michael Hesmann/Whitley Strieber
The Third Secret, Steve Perry
(All Rights Reserved)