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Pastor's Corner: Light & Shadow in Fatima

May 17, 2017

Following the Holy Father's Fatima visit, many Catholics saw missed opportunities. Roberto de Mattei agreed - we review his words in this Pastor's Corner.

On the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Pope Francis canonized the two little shepherds Francesco (10) and Jacinta Marto (9), who, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, saw Our Lady and heard her words between May 13 and October 13, 1917. Among other things, the Holy Father stressed the examples of the children:

whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near ‘the hidden Jesus’ in the tabernacle.”

The occasion of the anniversary would have been providential for the long expected consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but this was not to be. No mention was even made of the need to increase devotion to Our Lady, especially that of the first five Saturdays. The Fatima message, with the three secrets, containing warnings of punishment and threats of death is not pleasing to modern ears. Yet, the Pope himself laments the war stricken world around us and the loss of the sense of the sacred. 

Our Lady’s words always connect the punishments with the crime of individuals and nations, and the solution to these threats is first and foremost spiritual: the return to God, to penance, prayer, and the sacraments. However, such names as sin, punishment, and penance have no room in the modern ecclesiastical jargon, where the leitmotiv is simply peace, joy, union in whatever religious feeling one may experience, and so forth. Too many hierarchs in the Church seem to think that if the Blessed Virgin were to visit them today she would have to be "more sophisticated" or "with the times."

As Roberto de Mattei concludes in his assessment of the Pope’s visit:

We need to acknowledge that the message of Fatima reinterpreted according to Pope Francis’ sociological categories has little to do with the prophetic announcement of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Our Lady proclaimed to the world one hundred years ago.”

source: Rorate Coeli