IN PORTUGAL THE DOGMA OF THE FAITH IS PRESERVED
N July 13, 1917, the vision of the Third Secret showed
the blessed shepherd children several «bishops, priests, men and women religious»,
who were «climbing a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a large Cross of
rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with its bark». This scene may be
viewed in connection with Our Lady’s promise, reported by Sister Lucy in her
Fourth Memoir: «In
Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc.1»
THE «STEEP MOUNTAIN»
Brother Bruno de Jésus writes: «Portugal and Spanish Galicia, where Our Lady came to ask in Pontevedra for the reparatory Communion of the first Saturdays of the month and in Tuy for the consecration of Russia, are fittingly presented as “a steep mountain”, their altitude decreasing from the Spanish border to the Ocean, and from the North to the South, right down to the Serra de Aire where Fatima is located. On this mountain, the Holy Dove allowed Herself to be seen and heard in Her apparitions of 1917: “My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rocks, in the high recesses of the cliff.” (Sg 2.14) But the “large Cross” erected on the summit reminds us even more of Mount Calvary.
«It is here that the vision showed the children, ahead of time, “several other bishops, priests, men and women religious” ascending in pilgrimage.2»
When he canonically recognised the Fatima apparitions on October 13, 1930, Msgr. da Silva observed: «How prodigious is the power of the Most Holy Virgin who brings multitudes to a bare mountain (escalvada) and who, in just a few years, has transformed a place without life into a great centre of devotion by the most astonishing miracle in the religious life of our times!3»
The Apostolic Nuncio to Lisbon, Msgr. Beda Cardinale, who came to the Cova da Iria to preside over the pilgrimage of May 13, 1932, was amazed at the spectacle of «the immense crowd which acclaimed the Virgin Mary in a delirium of faith and love. From a human point of view, there is nothing in Fatima to attract people. The pilgrimages constitute a real sacrifice; and yet, notwithstanding, the number of pilgrims is markedly growing […]. Fatima is a true blessing for Portugal. I am convinced that Mary will always protect this nation which, over the course of its millenary history, has won so many truly Christian glories. I am convinced that She will save it from the dangers that, at this grave hour, threaten the whole of society.4»
The vision of the Third Secret presents these pilgrims according to a hierarchical order, and this agrees with the chronology of events which step by step, following the spontaneous expansion of the pilgrimage, brought bishops, priests, men and women religious to the holy mountain.
It would be tedious to establish and publish the long list of prelates who made a pilgrimage to the Cova da Iria. It would, however, demonstrate the national and subsequently worldwide renown of Fatima, so aptly recalled by Msgr. Venancio in his pastoral letter of April 14, 1968: «Through the merciful choice of the Virgin Mary, our little diocese and, with it, Portugal has become a sign raised up among the nations of the Earth (Is 5:26); and, in the Church of God, like an illustrious city set on a hill-top (Mt 5:14).»
But let us continue our reading of the commentary on the Secret by Brother Bruno de Jésus:
«The “cork-tree” is the symbol of Portugal, just as the maple is that of Canada and the cedar that of Lebanon. The “rough-hewn trunks”, with their thick casing of cork, assembled to form “a large Cross”, represent the “dogma of the faith” which will always be preserved in Portugal, under the rough bark we know it possesses, for want of liturgical dress! But “the bark” protects a trunk which is perfectly smooth. When stripped away, we will discover saints: Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta, and one day Sister Lucy. They are sheltered from the world, under the bark of their apparent rusticity, while “several bishops, priests, men and women religious” come to Fatima in pilgrim crowds.5»
The preservation of the dogma of the faith is the first of Portugal’s privileges, whence flow others of a temporal nature: the stability and peace she enjoyed in the twentieth century, after having renewed, thanks to the Fatima apparitions, her great tradition of public and official devotion towards the Immaculate, her Patroness, Protectress and Queen6.
The Abbé de Nantes writes: «Here we have some surprising news: “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved.” So will it be lost elsewhere? Why will it be preserved in Portugal? Because this land was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by its bishops, its civil authorities and its unanimous people. Thus this Land of Mary, this pious people, have become for the world the witnesses of Catholic fidelity and, in exchange, they remain the showcase of the graces and blessings that the Immaculate Mother of God is eager to shower on those – families, nations, Church – who declare themselves devoted to Her Heart.7»
During a conversation with Sister Lucy, probably in July 1946, Father Luis Gonzaga da Fonseca put the following question to her:
«Our Lady guaranteed that the dogma of the faith would always be preserved in
Portugal. What is meant by “Dogma of the faith”?» Lucy replied: «True faith!»8
THE CATECHISM OF FATIMA
The Portuguese preserve the dogma of the faith to the exact extent that they hold fast with filial docility to the revelations of Our Lady of Fatima, «the best of catechists»9, as Msgr. Venancio said. During his episcopate, he often recalled that «the message of Fatima encompasses a doctrinal content so vast that none of the fundamental themes of the Christian faith are missing»10. In his pastoral letter for the fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions, he declared: «Today people are searching, and with good reason, for new pastoral methods that are living and effective. But, allow me to say this, nothing is more effective than to show how Catholic dogma forms the bedrock of the Message confided to us at Fatima. Intended by its content for the whole world, it translates dogma and sets it before our eyes in a manner that is at once concrete and arresting.11»
Observing the progress of apostasy within the Church, his successor, Msgr. do Amaral, said in 1975, in a strikingly pithy turn of phrase: «Fatima is a proclamation of faith for the Christian of our times. If there is no article in the Credo that is not challenged today, neither is there any truth of faith that is not affirmed by Fatima.12»
Brother Michel de la Sainté Trinité published a demonstration of this in his first two volumes of The Whole Truth about Fatima. In his commentary on the Angel’s words and the acts he taught the three shepherd children in 1916, and in his presentation of Our Lady’s revelations at the Cova da Iria and in Pontevedra, as well as of the theophany of Tuy, our Brother shows, at every stage of his account, that the message of Fatima, through its theological content, counters the heresies that have invaded the Church since Vatican Council II: it can and it must preserve us from them.
If the Catholic dogma is always preserved in Portugal, it is not only
owing to Our Lady’s catechetical teaching, but also through the cult of the Virgin of
Fatima, which has strengthened the faith of the faithful in the Immaculate
THE FRUITS OF THE PILGRIMAGE
By appearing at the Cova da Iria on the 13th of each month, from May to October 1917, the Most Blessed Virgin had fixed in advance the series of annual gatherings. A more inspired strategy could not be conceived: the repetition of the ceremonies, on the 13th of every month, favoured the rapid growth of the pilgrimage.
Having visited the Cova da Iria on May 13, 1930, Father Luis Gonzaga Cabral, the former Provincial of the Portuguese Jesuits, wrote to one of his confreres: «You should have seen it! You should have seen it!... I have been several times to Lourdes. I was in Rome at the time of one of its greatest ceremonies [probably the canonisation of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus which, in 1925, attracted 550,000 pilgrims to the Eternal City]. Well, I declare that neither Lourdes nor Rome can give an idea about what I saw at the Cova da Iria. The greatest miracle of Fatima is the fervent piety of these crowds, their solid faith, and their serene resignation which one admires even more among their sick.13»
Let us quote the testimony of Dr. Fischer, Professor of History at the University of Bamberg, in Germany, who went to Fatima on May 12 and 13, 1929. He had already been very impressed by the prayer vigil, during which one hundred thousand voices recited the Rosary in unison. But he was even more impressed by the ceremonies of the following day.
«Scarcely had the statue of Our Lady appeared in the brilliant light of the sun than a shower of roses fell on us, the like of which I have never seen in all my life. The statue and all those surrounding it were literally covered in flowers. I do not believe roses are to be had in this rocky soil. The pilgrims brought them from their homes and kept them for this solemn moment. Their homage can only be all the more agreeable to Mary’s maternal Heart.
«But before I had recovered from my emotion, I heard a friend saying in my ear: “Turn round!” I thought I had been transported to an immense field of snow. The whole Cova, from the lowest part where I stood to its outer boundaries, was one single moving field of white. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims were waving their white handkerchiefs to greet Mary. A further impressive spectacle and one which only the Cova can offer us.14»
An eminent professor who, in 1927, witnessed this scene for the first time, said with tears in his eyes: «If Our Lady had actually shown Herself at that moment, it would not have been possible to give Her a better welcome.15»
The most fervent pilgrims, and they were numerous, would return to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of every month. «In March 1943, a Portuguese lady, Mrs. Victoria Coxa, aged seventy-one, told a reporter from the Voz da Fatima that she had been there one hundred and fifty-two times, always on foot, except on nine occasions, and five times in bare feet. She lived in Azambuza da Massuça, that is, eighty kilometres from Fatima. One of her companions was on her one hundred and seventh pilgrimage.16»
The Portuguese people’s reaction to a painful scandal that took place in 1949, reveals the extent to which the Fatima pilgrimage had revived their faith in the signal privileges of their heavenly Padroeira17. That year, during the electoral campaign, the newspaper A Republica, which supported Salazar’s challenger, published a blasphemous article attacking the Virgin Mary. Spontaneously, «twenty thousand Portuguese people immediately went up to Fatima to make amends to the nation’s great Benefactress. And the following Sunday, on the simple invitation of an improvised committee, three hundred thousand of the Portuguese gathered in Sameiro, near Braga, around the national Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, to make reparation for the insult committed by the impudent paper against their country’s Queen.18»
The number of pilgrims at that time has been calculated and compared to the total population of the country. Every year, one Portuguese person in six went to pray in Fatima, while one French person in twenty-four visited Lourdes.
In Fatima, there was no medical bureau, as there is in Lourdes, to record the rapid, complete, lasting and scientifically inexplicable character of certain cures. Nevertheless, miracles were no less striking19: firstly at the Cova da Iria, and then at the stations of the international Way of Our Lady. Let us recount, by way of example, a miracle that took place in Fortaleza, in Brazil, during the visit of the Pilgrim Virgin.
Mrs. Laura Léan Borges, aged forty-nine, the daughter of the great orthopaedist François S. Léan, had had, since she was eight months old, a deformation of the right leg, which had remained about 10 centimetres too short. In 1917, her father arranged for her to receive treatment in Paris, but she was declared incurable.
On October 14, 1952, Laura was sitting in church, praying before the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, without even thinking of her old infirmity. All at once she felt a slight pain in her leg. It felt as though it were being pulled toward the ground. Intrigued by this curious sensation, she thought only of returning home and asked her daughter-in-law to go and get the car. Then wishing to stand up, she was surprised to see that her leg really had just become longer. It had become quite normal. Ten centimetres of bone and muscle had suddenly been created.
This miracle, reported by the papers, caused a great sensation in the city, for everyone knew Mrs. Laura Léan Borges, who had been lame since birth. It was a real triumph of the faith.20
The liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Fatima, Patroness of the diocese of Leiria, a feast granted by John XXIII, was celebrated for the first time at the Cova da Iria on May 13, 1963 by Cardinal Larraona, Prefect of the Congregation of Rites.
«As happens every year», wrote the Voz da Fatima, «it was impressive to see on this May 12 and 13 the sacrifices made in a spirit of penance by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who had travelled the length of Portugal’s roads to reach the Cova da Iria. Anyone who had to speed along our roads in the direction of Porto, Lisbon or the coast over the last few days can testify de visu to this painful march carried out as a voluntary penance.
«The pilgrims’ refusal to hitch a lift, their appearance, their clear response when questioned, everything proved that it was not for lack of means or through thrift, but resolutely to do penance, that these faithful were making their way to Fatima.
«A pious lady of our aristocracy, who charitably devoted herself to the humble task of washing and tending the feet of crippled pilgrims, would ask them the reason for their coming on foot: not a single one failed to declare that it was out of a spirit of penance. And from the 9th to the 13th, in the stretcher-bearer section alone, the feet of 3,343 people had to be treated. Others made the journey there and back with no nourishment other than bread and water.
«Penance continues to be the most glorious characteristic of the Fatima pilgrimage.21»
After Vatican Council II, despite the progressivism and modernism that contaminated the Portuguese hierarchy and clergy, despite the liturgical reforms that led to a cooling of piety, despite the liberalism and secularism that penetrated the whole of society, the Portuguese faithful remained attached to Fatima.
It is notable that the communists, after the Revolution of the Carnations, did not dare obstruct the great Fatima pilgrimages. It was impossible! They tried on just one occasion, on May 12 and 13, 1974, to erect barricades on the roads around the sanctuary. But they suffered one setback after another: they were quite unable to prevent the Portuguese country people from rushing up in crowds to the feet of the Virgin of the Capelinha.
On May 13, 1987, for the seventieth anniversary of the apparitions, no fewer than six hundred thousand pilgrims could be counted. One year after the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, on May 13, 2001, the number was four hundred thousand.
It is very enlightening to note how the Portuguese have persevered with the Fatima pilgrimage. It lets us see how the divine promise has been fulfilled and is still being fulfilled today: it is their ancient belief in the Immaculate Conception, renewed and fortified by their cult of Our Lady of Fatima, that allows the Portuguese to keep the true faith. Yes, in the exact measure that they believe in this signal privilege of the Virgin Mary, they are preserved from apostasy because «all the great dogmas of our faith», as the Abbé de Nantes remarks, «are so closely bound up with the glories and privileges of Mary that to believe in the latter is to avoid all error with regard to the former. The two most ancient dogmas, those of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity and Her Divine Maternity, as well as the most recent, those of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, effectively protect faith in Jesus, the God-man, and safeguard the prerogatives of the Father Almighty, who can intervene on matter itself, etc.22»
That is why, ever since Pope Saint Leo invoked Mary’s Divine Maternity against Eutyches, a doctrine which was proclaimed in 431 at the Council of Ephesus, the Church has sung:
«Gaude Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses
Sola interemisti in universo mundo.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary: Thou alone Hast destroyed
All heresies throughout the entire world.»
This ancient anthem expresses and proclaims the teaching that Saint Pius X would voice in his celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:
«What truly is the point of departure of the enemies of religion for the sowing of the great and serious errors by which the faith of so many is shaken? They begin by denying that man has fallen by sin and been cast down from his former position. Hence they regard as mere fables Original Sin and the evils that were its consequence. Humanity vitiated in its source vitiated in its turn the whole race of man; and thus was evil introduced amongst men and the necessity for a Redeemer involved. All this rejected, it is easy to understand that no place is left for Christ, for the Church, for grace or for anything that is above and beyond nature; in one word, the whole edifice of faith is shaken from top to bottom.
«But let people believe and confess that the Virgin Mary has been from the first moment of Her conception preserved from all stain; and it is straightway necessary that they should admit both Original Sin and the rehabilitation of the human race by Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the Church and the law of suffering. By virtue of this, Rationalism and Materialism is torn up by the roots and destroyed, and there remains to Christian wisdom the glory of having to guard and protect the truth.
«It is moreover a vice common to the enemies of the faith, of our time especially, that they repudiate, and proclaim the necessity of repudiating, all respect and obedience for the authority of the Church, and even of any human power, in the idea that it will thus be more easy to make an end of faith. Here we have the origin of Anarchism, than which nothing is more pernicious and pestilent to the order of things, whether natural or supernatural.
«Now this plague, which is equally fatal to society at large and to Christianity, finds its ruin in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary by the obligation which it imposes of recognizing in the Church a power before which not only has the will to bow, but the intelligence to subject itself. It is from a subjection of the reason of this sort that Christian people sing thus the praise of the Mother of God: “Thou art all fair, O Mary, and the stain of Original Sin is not in Thee.”23»
In times past, the Portuguese had manifested their faith in the Immaculate
Conception through solemn vows and works of devotion, notably through the daily
recitation of the Rosary. But, at the beginning of the twentieth century, this
pious practice had been abandoned in the Land of Holy Mary by a section of the
clergy and the faithful.
THE DEVOTION OF THE HOLY ROSARY RENEWED THROUGH FATIMA
«The Blessed Virgin», remarks the Abbé de Nantes, «did not go through the hierarchical Church to give us Her command: “I want you to continue to say the Rosary every day.”24» In 1917, she formulated this request, in almost identical terms, at each of Her apparitions. “You” meant all the faithful who would come to know the heavenly message.
Sister Lucy similarly interpreted Our Lady’s reply, which at first sight seemed only to concern her cousin, Blessed Francisco: «Yes, he will go to Heaven, but he will have to say many Rosaries.» (May 13, 1917) For the seer writes: «I think that this recommendation to Francisco is for all of us.25»
The daily recitation of the Rosary was the first of the requests of the Immaculate to be revealed by the three shepherd children to their parents, then to the pilgrims at the Cova da Iria. From after May 13, 1917, Jacinta would say to her mother:
«I’m going to say the Rosary with Francisco. It’s what Our Lady asked us.» After praying, the little girl turned round to Olimpia and declared: «Mama, we must say the Rosary every day.
– That’s not the custom, remarked Olimpia. How on earth am I going to start saying the Rosary now?!
– Say it, mama, say it!» Jacinta repeated with authority.
Soon noticing that their children would say it every day, whether they were out walking with the flock or in the house, Olimpia and Ti Marto decided to say it every day with the family gathered together. When it happened, for some unusual reason, that it was neglected, Jacinta would become very sad and say in a pained voice:
«Mama, I have already said the Rosary and you have not said it yet.26»
It is not surprising that Father Francisco Cruz was one of the first priests openly to preach the cult of Our Lady of Fatima, so great was his devotion for the Holy Rosary. Many anecdotes could be told about this. Let us quote the testimony of Msgr. Freitas Barros:
Around 1923, I had the honour of accompanying the late lamented Patriarch Mendes Belo on his pastoral visit to the parish of San Domingos de Carmoes. In the evening, when it was already dark, His Eminence, visibly fatigued, got into his car to return to the bishop’s palace in Lisbon. As he was leaving the locality, the car stopped abruptly. Then Father Cruz appeared and humbly asked for a lift to Lisbon, which the venerable Cardinal willingly granted, inviting him to sit next to him.
The car had only advanced thirty metres when Father Cruz broke the silence, saying out loud: «Do you know, Eminence, I haven’t yet said my Rosary chaplet today. If you will allow me, I will say it privately, because I know that Your Eminence is tired, as are your priests.»
Having received approval, Father Cruz began in a loud voice: «O God, come to my aid.27» Here he paused, as though he wished to be accompanied. Then he continued the prayer, alternating with His Eminence and the priests. But “his chaplet” was not over yet! There would be one chaplet after another, while the car progressed at a crawl because the road was full of holes. One would have thought there was a contest between the piety and indefatigable ardour of the holy priest and the regular whirring of the vehicle’s engine. Neither wished to admit defeat… His Eminence continued to join in this litany of chaplets.
After a two-hour journey, the car stopped at the door of the bishop’s palace. Father Cruz was reciting at that precise moment the fifth mystery of the ninth chaplet28.
Clearly this man of God was anxious to console the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary by following the recommendation which the Apparition had made to Blessed Francisco.
Our Lady wants the Rosary to be said with the family. This can be inferred from Her reply on July 13, 1917 to the mother of a poor crippled child, Joao Carreira. «I asked Lucy», Maria Carreira relates, «to let my son stay next to her. I brought him a rock and he sat down. When Lucy said that the Lady was coming, he slipped and fell. I asked the shepherd children to intercede for him. The Lady replied that either he would get better or else She would provide him with a livelihood29, and that he should always say the Rosary with his family.30»
The Bishop of Leiria, Msgr. da Silva, had certainly understood the Virgin’s request. In 1938, in the sanctuary of Fatima, he opened the Golden Book of Our Lady of the Rosary to register those who promised to say the Rosary every day in their homes. Cardinal Cerejeira mentioned and praised this happy initiative: «Please God there may be established and extended more and more among us the holy custom of saying the Rosary with the family, especially in these times of militant irreligion.31”» The first volume of the Golden Book, containing the names of twenty thousand families, was offered to Our Lady during the pilgrimage of May 13, 1939.
After Vatican Council II, Portugal was affected by the wave of diabolical disorientation that invaded the Church at this time. Nevertheless, in the Land of Holy Mary, the denigration by the progressivists of the recitation of the Rosary gave rise to a felicitous reaction: several periodicals organised a counter-campaign to extol the beauty and utility of the Rosary, and to ask for its recognition as a liturgical prayer of the Church32.
The seer of Fatima approved of this request, without however presenting it as a requirement of the Virgin Mary. On September 16, 1970, she wrote to Mother Maria José Martins: «I am very hopeful that the day is not far off when the prayer of the Holy Rosary will be declared a liturgical prayer; yes indeed, because it belongs entirely to the sacred Eucharistic liturgy. Let us pray, work, sacrifice ourselves, and have confidence: “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”33»
In her book Calls from the Message of Fatima, Sister Lucy recalls the painful debates and controversies of the postconciliar period: «Unfortunately, in these confused times, there are those who venture to criticize the Rosary, saying, for example, that it is not a liturgical prayer. Some time ago, I heard about an article of this nature and was greatly saddened by it. Someone asked the author of it how he had dared to write and publish such nonsense, to which he replied: I was forced to do it! Did he not know, then, that there is no authority in the world which can force us to go against our own conscience? It is the mystery of human weakness, which, in many cases, in order to please creatures, perhaps for earthly reasons, does not mind incurring God’s anger and the penalties with which He punishes sin.
«Contrary to what this person, and others of the same mind, have written, I assure you that the Rosary is a biblical prayer and that it is part of the sacred Liturgy.34»
Sister Lucy has often recalled that the Rosary, in our «times of diabolical disorientation», is a «powerful means of helping us to preserve our faith, hope and charity. Even for those people who do not know how, or who are not able to recollect themselves sufficiently to meditate, the simple act of taking the rosary in their hands in order to pray is already to become mindful of God, and the mention in each decade of a mystery in the life of Christ recalls Him to their minds; this in turn will light in their souls the gentle light of faith which supports the still smouldering wick, preventing it from extinguishing itself altogether. On the other hand, those who give up saying the Rosary and who do not go to daily Mass, have nothing to sustain them, and so end up by losing themselves in the materialism of earthly life.» The seer explains moreover that «in the Rosary, we find all the riches of God’s truths, or rather, the revelation of God to men»35.
Father José dos Santos Valinho, who knew Sister Lucy, his aunt, intimately, told me when I met him in Porto on June 16, 1999: «For her, if a priest says the Rosary every day, it is a sign of orthodoxy in his teaching.»
Such was already the conviction of Father de Montfort:
«Believe me, dear brother of the Rosary Confraternity, if you genuinely wish to attain a high degree of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the illusions of the devil so common with those who practise mental prayer, say the whole Rosary every day, or at least five decades of it. If you have already attained, by the grace of God, a high degree of prayer, keep up the practice of saying the Holy Rosary if you wish to remain in that state and by it to grow in humility. For never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil. This is a statement which I would sign with my blood.36»
Such thinking will be found among all the saints who saw the great apostasy of the end times approaching. Msgr. Sarto, the future Saint Pius X, taught his diocesan faithful no different:
«The characteristic of our times is that indocility of the mind which aims at the destruction of dogmas, and that corruption of the heart which leads to the subversion of Christian morals. There is only one way to defend faith and morals, and that is to meditate on the mysteries proposed by the Holy Rosary.» For, «if the world has forgotten even the vestiges of virtue, by contemplating the admirable examples set forth in the Rosary, we are better able to fight the disordered passions within ourselves, we can rouse in our souls, along with a sincere regret for sin, a lively faith and a consoling hope, and we can enable all the other virtues to take wing.37»
If the Portuguese, at least the best of them, have kept, and still keep, the
true faith fixed in their hearts, it is due in a very concrete way to the
practice of the Holy Rosary, a devotion that pleases the
Immaculate Heart of Mary supremely.
THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE PORTUGUESE
It is notable that the statutes of the movement of the Fatima Crusaders, officially directed by the Bishop of Leiria, were reformed at the beginning of 80’s. Nevertheless, the daily recitation of the chaplet remained the first obligation of its members.
In 1984, for the golden jubilee of the canonical erection of this “pious union”, the Portuguese bishops invited its members to satisfy Heaven’s wishes revealed at Pontevedra. A new campaign would be organised the following year for the “bimillennium of the birth of the Immaculate Virgin Mary”. At the end of 1985, a census would be taken in each diocese of the faithful who had fulfilled the devotion of reparation, and in all seventy thousand would be counted. A message, dated December 13, 1985, was then sent to the Holy Father:
«For Mary’s bimillennium, the movement of the Fatima Crusaders , of episcopal institution, wished to launch an appeal to all the good Portuguese people, asking them to offer Our Lady, as a “birthday present”, the practice of the Five First Saturdays in order to make reparation to Her Immaculate Heart, in accordance with what She so insistently requested here in Fatima. We would very much like this present to be offered to Mary on Christmas day by Your Holiness in person, and that is why we take the liberty of sending it to you.»
The Voz da Fatima published this message to the Holy Father on January 13, 1986, without giving any details about the Pope’s reaction. But had he deigned to acknowledge its receipt and officially to offer this present to the Virgin Mary, the monthly journal of the Fatima sanctuary would certainly not have failed to advise its readers of this.
The great pilgrimages commemorating the apparitions experienced a certain decline starting from the 80’s. Nevertheless, statistics show that a far from negligible section of the Portuguese people remained practising Catholics and faithful to the cult of Our Lady of Fatima. A poll taken in 1991 indicated that the national average of Portuguese baptised was 97%, of whom 33% attended Mass every Sunday38. Ten years later, in May 2000, a poll taken by the Catholic University of Lisbon39 revealed that 90% of the Portuguese said they believed in Fatima40 and 27% that they went there every year.
During our Phalangist Communion’s pilgrimage on October 12 and 13, 1996, we observed with emotion the fulfilment of Our Lady’s promise.
Arriving on the afternoon of the 12th on the immense esplanade, «we were immediately charmed, indeed enveloped, by the Portuguese piety: along the way of penance we saw pilgrims of all ages advancing on both knees without any human respect, with or without knee pads, with or without someone at their side to accompany them, but always with their rosary in their hands. Our turn came to enter into this ardent furnace of prayer: is not this what we came for? Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! Immaculate Heart, convert sinners!
«We had arranged to meet at the Hungarian Way of the Cross, the Via Sacra. What struck our French pilgrims straight away was that we of the “Counter-Reformation” were not alone in these exercises of popular piety, as so often happens in France where we are gazed upon with astonishment, even in Lourdes, even in Montmartre! Here, ahead of us and behind us, we found groups singing and praying at the different stations. Led by priests? Not always, but these people were giving full voice to the grave, profound, traditional chants: “A treze de Maio, na Cova da Iria, aparaceu brilhando a Virgem Maria. On the thirteenth of May, at the Cova da Iria, all brilliant appeared the Virgin Mary. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!” It was the Portuguese soul, the soul of a people whose unchanged religion venerates Christ the Saviour and His Holy Mother, the rosary in their fingers. A treze de outubro, they come en masse to where the Virgem came and made the sun spin. The piety of this people, faithful to their Rosary and their belief in the truth of the Apparitions, without waiting to be exhorted by the clergy, is the striking miracle of which we were the marvelling witnesses.
«During the evening of the 12th, insensibly but irreparably, a gulf could be noticed between the “officials” and their people, despite the latter being well disposed or perhaps simply resigned. Why? Because of the “liturgy of the word” indefinitely prolonged by the translations? It is true, the sermon given in Polish that evening by Msgr. Piszcz, and in Portuguese the following day by Cardinal Ratzinger, and translated or summarised in numerous languages, had very little in common with the manifestations of piety of the people that we saw praying, fervent and traditional.
«But there was something infinitely more serious: the violence of the situation. We would experience the same strong impression on the following day. This Cardinal, who had just walked back up the esplanade and then left the ceremony, this Cardinal so visibly here on show, whose fixed and vacant look fails to settle on anything, who has nothing, truly nothing of the captivating look of John Paul I, this Cardinal, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has actually read the Secret; he told us so himself: he was shaken by it. But, on arriving in Fatima, he lied41 in his interview with the journalist Aura Miguel. To us, lost in the crowd, to us who know these things and who for this reason have been deprived of our Superior42, these good, trusting and ever so faithful people, still patiently waiting for the Secret, appear to be the victims of an odious deceit: his dignified silence, his gravity contradict and contrast starkly with the essential treason, that of the Virgin insulted and mocked. Between Her and this Cardinal, just as between this people and him, there is no communion: they are separated by a reinforced lie.»
And so, concluded Brother Bruno de Jésus, «we found ourselves united with the Portuguese people, who love their traditional devotions, who seem impervious to the conciliar novelties, and who, even if they lack our combative doctrine, remain free of all apostasy; their poverty preserves them from the “cult of man”»43.
To the exact extent that the Portuguese bishops have embraced the conciliar reform, their devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has gradually lessened.
In 1991, when John Paul II came to Fatima, there was no special ceremony to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of Portugal’s national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following year, on May 13, the Patriarch of Lisbon pronounced in Fatima a consecration to «Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of men», but it was no longer a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was not even mentioned in this act. As for the intentions addressed to Our Lady, they were wholly impregnated with the humanism of Vatican II.
Msgr. Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, appointed Bishop of Fatima in 1993, was probably chosen by the Roman authorities to succeed Msgr. do Amaral on account of his very progressive ideas. He unashamedly admitted «having received express instructions from the Pope to do everything possible to develop ecumenical and interfaith relations»44. It is common knowledge that Portugal had remained aloof from the postconciliar ecumenical drift. This had irritated the Portuguese progressives. «Our Catholic Church», observed the Bishop of Viseu, «has always been in the majority in Portugal. The other non-Catholic, Christian churches are insignificant. Ecumenism seemed pointless, many people rejected it.45» However, Msgr. Ferreira faithfully followed the Pope’s instruction. On May 13, 2000, the very day of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, he declared in an interview given to the Diario de noticias:
«We want the sanctuary of Fatima to be a lung where one can breathe deeply or an oasis where each can find rest, whether they be Moslem, pagan or anything else, whether they believe or do not believe. I have tried to build the whole pastoral character of Fatima on two coordinates: truth and liberty. Liberty is this ecumenical, interfaith and interhumanist respect, in a tolerance of more than one hundred percent.46»
So, in the Land of Holy Mary, the dogma of the faith has not been preserved by the entirety of the hierarchy nor by the whole people unanimously. But Our Lady had not specified exactly who in this country would retain the pure Catholic faith: «In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved.» The turn of phrase is impersonal.
Although the “true faith” was threatened and in great danger of being lost in Portugal, we can be in no doubt of Our Lady’s promise. «They tell me», writes the Abbé de Nantes, «that this preservation of the Catholic faith in Portugal is even now nothing but a fiction, whereas the faith is being reborn elsewhere in liberty. I do not believe either of these remarks. My conviction hinges on the heavenly message of July 13, 1917, not on the declarations of sociologists and tourists.47»
Sister Lucy was always keenly aware of Portugal’s infidelities, which never ceased to distress her. Ever since the Sixties she had observed in her country certain signs of a disturbing religious and moral degradation. Nevertheless, she remained convinced that Portugal remained privileged by Heaven. In her letter to Mother Cunha Mattos of November 28, 1968, she wrote:
«You tell me of the critical moment we are passing through in Portugal; yes indeed, but if only it were confined to Portugal! If we compare ourselves to other parts of the world, we may say that we are fortunate and that we fare better than anyone else, despite so many sad and lamentable things.
«Have confidence, Our Lady must continue to protect and aid us. Her maternal love knows neither exhaustion nor fatigue. We must correspond to it with a livelier faith, a firmer hope, and a more ardent love, in order that, in some manner and as far as is possible for us, we may make reparation and compensate for the lack of faith of those who do not believe, the lack of trust of those who do not hope, and the lack of charity of those who do not love.48»
When we see how the divine promise has been verified for the better part of the Portuguese Catholics, those who have remained unfailingly attached to the cult of Our Lady of Fatima, we may draw a very consoling lesson: there still exists today a refuge for every soul, every family and every religious house of good will and avid for devotion. It is here that we must fix ourselves if we are to become «citizens of the holy city, the paradise of Mary, blessed servants and handmaids of the Immaculate in a fidelity preserved or rediscovered, and sworn for ever, beneath the wing of the Holy Dove»49. But let us listen rather to our Father Superior as he explains this to us in a magnificent page which encapsulates the whole argument we have developed in this chapter:
«“In Portugal”, says the Secret, “the dogma of the faith will always be preserved.” Because in Portugal is to be found the Paradise of the new Eve and of Her divine Son, the new Adam, the Redeemer of the World, Jesus Christ: Fatima! Amid the universal ruin, Fatima will always remain standing, and nothing but Fatima, according to the special Will of the good pleasure of our dearest Heavenly Father […].
«So should we leave for Fatima? Sell all our goods and give them to the poor, to settle in Portugal come what may?
«Such escapades would be folly! Nothing of the kind has ever been requested in any authentic revelation of the Virgin Mary! Rather Fatima is to be found wherever any soul, family, parish, monastery or nation follows Heaven’s messages which are a complete Catholic catechism, and wherever they accomplish Our Lady’s requests which, through Her grace, constitute the entire practice of the true, unchanged religion. There is plenty of room in this “new Jerusalem come down from Heaven, from the presence of God, the perfect holy City, like a bride adorned for her Husband” on her wedding day (Ap 21:2-3).
«There is room for all those “called to the marriage feast of the Lamb”. Rediscovering in the events and words of Fatima a reminder of their first calling on the day of their baptism, namely “the dogma of the faith”, and rediscovering a taste for the old Catholic piety without any distortion of the Gospel, without any admixture of worldliness, they will enter into this Paradise. No devil can any longer harm the inhabitants of this holy City, nor will any chastisement strike them without the strength of the martyrs coming to their aid, nor will any temptation overcome them.
«The Virgin will preserve them from all harm, miraculously, for they belong to Her. And if they are chosen for the suffering and death of the saints, some as victims of love, others as martyrs of the true faith, it will be to go straight up to Heaven to intone the canticle of the immolated Lamb and of the Immaculate Conception beneath the eyes of their Heavenly Father.50»
SISTER LUCY’S SHORT TREATISE ON THE ROSARY
N the twenty-fifth anniversary of the crowning of the Virgin of Fatima, on May 13, 1971, Msgr. Joao Venancio gave the imprimatur to a short text by the seer of Fatima, a commentary on Our Lady’s words about the Rosary. Published by Father Martins dos Reis1, under the title “The Message of Our Lady of Fatima: the Daily Rosary”, this text constitutes a short treatise on the Holy Rosary. Here it is in extenso.
Photograph of Lucy, distributed at the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917, with this caption: «The shepherd girl to whom Our Lady speaks on October 13, 1917.» (Documentaçao critica de Fatima, vol. 3, t. 1, p. 162).
«Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.» (May 13, 1917)
All souls of good will can and must recite five decades of the Rosary every day. They can say it in a church, whether the Most Blessed Sacrament be exposed or remain in the Tabernacle. They can also recite it with the family or alone, on the road or on journeys. The prayer of the Rosary is accessible to all, to rich and poor, to the learned and the ignorant. It should be everyone’s spiritual bread. By means of the mysteries we recall at each decade, it nourishes and increases in souls faith, hope and charity.
«I want... you to say the Rosary every day.» (June 13, 1917)
We must recite the Rosary every day for we all have need of prayer and we are obliged to pray. If we are not saved through innocence, we must needs be saved through penance. To that end, let the small daily sacrifice of the recitation of the Rosary, which we offer to God, be united to this prayer of supplication: «Our Father who art in Heaven... Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.» «Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.»
«I want… you to continue saying the Rosary every day.» (July 13, 1917)
Our Lady insists on and asks us for perseverance in prayer. It is not enough to pray for a day; we must pray always, every day with faith and confidence, for every day we do wrong and every day we need to have recourse to God, asking Him to forgive us and to help us.
«I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.» (August 19, 1917)
Our Lady insists because She knows how inconstant we are in doing good, how weak and needy we are; and, like a Mother, She comes to meet us to give us a hand and support us in our weakness along the path we must follow to be saved. This path is that of prayer; it is there that we shall meet God. That is why She has asked us to say at the end of each decade: «O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.» That is to say, those in danger of damnation.
«Continue to say the Rosary to obtain the end of the war.» (September 13, 1917)
By this insistence, Our Lady indicates that it is crucial to pray in order to obtain the grace of peace between nations, among peoples, families, homes and consciences, and between God and souls.
It is only when God’s light, strength and grace penetrate our souls and hearts that we shall truly come to understand one another, to forgive and help one another; that is the only way we shall arrive at a true and just peace. But to obtain it, it is necessary to pray!
«I want... you to continue saying the Rosary every day.» (October 13, 1917)
The Rosary is the prayer which must bring us close to God on a daily basis. This prayer is not exclusively Marian; it is also a biblical and Eucharistic prayer, addressed to the Most Holy Trinity. At each decade we recite the “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” and the “Our Father” which Christ taught us to pray so that we might address the Father with confidence. And we recite the “Ave Maria” which is also a prayer of praise and of supplication to God through the mediation of Mary: «Ave Maria, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.» Thus we greet Mary, in the mystery of our Redemption, a mystery which God operated in Her and through which Mary was made the Mother of God, Mother of the Church and Mother of men.
That is why Mary was the first Tabernacle in which the Father enclosed His Word; the first Monstrance and the first Altar, where the Lord has remained for ever exposed to our adoration and love.
SISTER LUCY’S LETTER TO FATHER UMBERTO PASQUALE:
«THE ROSARY, THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON…»
ERE is the full text of the letter1 which Sister Lucy wrote on November 26, 1970 to Father Umberto Pasquale2. At that time, he was in Turin, engaged in the apostolate of spreading the Rosary and the reparatory devotion of the first Saturdays of the month. At the beginning of her letter, Sister Lucy mentions “the lamentable ruins caused by the devil”. She must therefore have had in mind, one can at least presume, the prophetic vision in the Third Secret.
Most Reverend Father,
I was very pleased to learn of your new apostolate. I believe that therein lies the fruit of a great inspiration which, it seems to me, addresses what our age needs most. The decadence of the world is without any doubt the consequence of the lack of the spirit of prayer. Foreseeing this disorientation, the Blessed Virgin recommended the recitation of the Rosary with such insistence. It is because the Rosary is, after the Holy Mass, most apt for preserving and increasing faith in souls, that the devil has unleashed against it the war we are experiencing. And we can see, alas, the lamentable ruins he has caused.
So we must work tirelessly to establish and increase the spirit of prayer, since it is prayer that brings us closer to God. It is in this encounter that God grants His graces, that He gives us light and strength to conquer temptations and difficulties, and that many problems for which we cannot find the solution are resolved.
As the number of people who go to Mass and are nourished on the Eucharistic Bread every day is, alas, so small, the prayer of the Rosary has become indispensable for souls. For, if they do not say the Rosary, what prayer will they say? And, without prayer, who will be saved?
But even for those who go to Mass every day, the daily recitation of the Rosary is essential if we are to keep Faith, Hope and Charity. The Rosary is the foundation of the Sacred Liturgy because it reminds souls of the principal mysteries of our Redemption.
The Rosary first brings us into contact with the Most Holy Trinity. For we begin it by saying: «O God, come to my aid! O Lord, make haste to help me! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.» Then, we recite the Gloria after each decade of Ave’s in praise of the Most Holy Trinity. Was it not the Father who inspired this praise in those Angels He sent to sing near His newly-born Son made man? I believe that this is why we may call the Rosary a Trinitarian prayer even more than a Marian prayer. After the Gloria, we recite the Pater, a prayer that is addressed to the Father and which Jesus taught us: it is simply an act of praise and supplication addressed to God. And Jesus Christ never told us that, with the passing of time, it would age and that we would have to find a different one. He said: «You should pray thus: “Our Father who art in Heaven.”» (Mt 6:9-13)
The Ave Maria is also a prayer addressed to God, and in it we find the first revelation He made to men of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
The Angel sent by the Lord to announce to Mary the Incarnation of the Word, salutes Her with words dictated by the Father: «Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with Thee.» That is to say: «Thou art the Temple wherein God resides.» And the Angel added: «The Holy Spirit shall come upon Thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow Thee. Therefore the Holy One to be born of Thee shall be called the Son of God.» (Lk 1:28-35)
We have here the first living Temple in which the Holy Trinity dwells, and the first revelation of this mystery to men: the Father overshadows Her; the Holy Spirit descends upon Her; and the Son of God is made man within Her. In this manner, Mary was the first living Tabernacle wherein the Father enclosed His Son, the Word made flesh; Her Immaculate Heart was the first Monstrance to receive Him; in Her Immaculate Heart and in Her veins coursed the first blood of God made man; the bosom and arms of this Virgin formed the first Altar on which God presented His Son for our adoration: it is here that the Angels, the shepherds and the magi adored Him.
If we see in the Ave Maria all the beauty of its real meaning, it will truly be for us more than a simple Marian prayer, it will be a Trinitarian and Eucharistic prayer. I do not know whether one can find prayers more sublime, appropriate and agreeable to God, to recite in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
But let us consider the rest of this prayer. The sacred text tells us: «Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb.”» (Lk 1:41-42) It is therefore the Holy Spirit who dictated these words to us through the mouth of Elizabeth. This salutation is itself an act of praise addressed to God: «Thou art blessed among women because the Fruit of Thy womb is blessed.» Even the supplication that Holy Church has added, surely moved by the Holy Spirit, is addressed to God: «Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.»
Everything is directed towards God, due to Mary’s union with God: «Because Thou art the Mother of God, the living Temple of God, the living Tabernacle of the Word made flesh, pray for us poor sinners.»
Our Protestant brothers come to a halt at the words of Saint Paul where he says: «There is one Mediator with the Father.» They take no account of the fact that this same Apostle recognises that it is useful for people to pray for one another. And is Mary, the Mother of God, not supposed to be able to pray for us?
We must defend souls against the errors that would lead them astray from the right path. For myself, I can only help you with my poor, humble prayers and sacrifices; but as for you, Father Umberto, you have before you a much more extended field of action to develop your apostolate. And we must not rest nor, as Our Lord says, allow the sons of darkness to be more astute than the sons of light.
Here, in Portugal, the young people have begun to organise a campaign of prayer with the Rosary, to re-establish the practice of this devotion in souls and in families, in groups or individually, among the different populations.
To this end, they recruit the greatest number of families possible to commit to saying the Rosary every day. Sometimes, as on Sundays and feast days, they form groups and set off along the roads, saying the Rosary in a loud voice and singing hymns, until they reach the church or chapel chosen to end their prayer. If they have a priest with them, they finish with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or the Holy Mass; otherwise with a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. If the Blessed Sacrament is not available, they finish off with an act of praise to the Blessed Virgin.
These young people have found the public full of enthusiasm. I believe that, at present, this is the best apostolate for preserving and increasing the faith.
In Argentina there has recently been founded a secular institute, the Association of Our Lady of Fatima, whose aim is to promote this apostolate. They gather in the street and say the Rosary with the people; large crowds, it is said. They also go and say it in the hospitals and in the prisons. It is reported that they all pray with an incredible fervour. The bishops are so pleased with all this that the Holy See has allowed their foundresses to come and speak to me about it.
I tell you these things so that you may see the fruits the Rosary can produce. I believe that with the means God has put into your hands, you can do as much and even more. The Rosary is the most powerful weapon for defending us on the battlefield.
I pray for you, that the Lord may grant you sufficient length of life, sufficient strength and courage to bring this apostolate to a successful conclusion.
Ever grateful, and in union of prayer.
Sister Lucy I.C.D.
P.S. What I have related to you is also
aimed at preserving the faith of God’s people in
the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. That is why they finish the
recitation of the Rosary in a church with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,
with Mass, or simply, if no priest is present, with a visit to the Blessed
(1) «One could
informally translate etc», the Abbé de Nantes points out, «as
“and everything that ensues from this”, in consequence of that which has just been
stated: Portugal will be consecrated to My Immaculate Heart, and therefore
Portugal will escape this horrible, horrible war, and therefore it will
experience a certain time of peace, etc. These three letters summarise the
exemplary miracle of Portugal’s conversion, which we take great delight in
describing under the title of “Our Lady’s showcase”.» (CRC no. 369, August 2000, p. 6)
(2) CRC no. 368, June-July 2000, p. 21.
(3) Pastoral letter A divina providencia.
(4) Quoted by H. Jongen, Notre-Dame de Fatima, missionnaire de Dieu, 2nd ed,. Jacobs, Louvain, 1944, p. 221.
(5) CRC no. 368, p. 21-22.
(6) Cf. Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 1, p. 106 sq.
(7) CRC no. 279, January 1992, p. 4.
(8) F. Leite, Jacinta de Fatima, 5th ed., Apostolado da oraçao, 1999, p. 104.
(9) Pastoral letter of April 14, 1968. In his pamphlet Notre-Dame catéchiste (Fatima Publications, 1967), Canon Barthas showed that the Fatima message, because of its precise and dogmatic character, constitutes a veritable catechism.
(11) Pastoral letter of July 25, 1966.
(12) Speech of September 21, 1975. The Seers of Fatima, 1975, no. 5-6.
(13) Quoted in the Voz da Fatima, September 13, 1998.
(14) Jongen, op. cit., p. 213 sq.
(16) F. Carret-Petit, Le Lourdes portugais: Notre-Dame du Rosaire de Fatima, Bonne Presse, 1943, p. 131.
(17) Patroness, protectress.
(18) Barthas, Fatima et les destins du monde, Fatima Publications, 1957, p. 43
(19) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 251 sq.
(20) Castelbranco, Le prodige inouï de Fatima, 1958, republished by Téqui, 1972, p. 139.
(21) Voz da Fatima, French edition, July-August 1963.
(22) CRC no. 207, January 1985, p. 11.
(23) Encyclical Ad diem illum, February 2, 1904.
(24) CRC no. 369, p. 22.
(25) Calls from the Message of Fatima, p. 126.
(26) Documentaçao critica de Fatima, Santuario de Fatima, 1999, vol. 2, p. 71.
(27) In Portugal the custom is to start the Rosary with the invocation that begins the Liturgy of the Hours.
(28) “O santo padre Cruz e o terço”, Voz da Fatima, June 13, 1997.
(29) He would become the sacristan of the Capelinha.
(30) Documentaçao critica de Fatima, vol. 2, p. 105.
(31) Pastoral letter of the Portuguese episcopate, Easter 1938.
(32) Les voyants de Fatima, 1968, no. 5; 1969, no. 4.
(33) Martins dos Reis, Uma vida ao serviço de Fatima, Porto, 1973, p. 379.
(34) Calls from the Message of Fatima, p. 263.
(35) Ibid., p. 134, 273.
(36) Le secret admirable du très saint Rosaire, Seuil, 1966, p. 75-76.
(37) Quoted in CRC no. 237, November 1987, p. 14.
(38) O Independente, May 3, 1991.
(39) Publico, May 10, 2000.
(40) Let us note that a poll, published by the Expresso on January 18, 1997, showed that 62% of the Portuguese claimed to believe in the Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an absolutely certain truth.
(41) Cardinal Ratzinger had declared to Aura Miguel on October 11, 1996: «If the Church has not revealed the Third Secret, it is to counter sensationalism and that thirst for strange things and to bring Marian devotion back to the essential. In this we are obeying Our Lady […]. Our Lady is not sensationalist, Our Lady does not spread fear, Our Lady does not make apocalyptic forecasts, but She leads us to Her Son and thus to the essential.» Cf. the critique of this declaration, CRC no. 326, October 1996, p. 8-9.
(42) Our Father Superior, the Abbé de Nantes, had been expelled from the diocese of Troyes by an abuse of power of Msgr. Daucourt. He was in exile at the Monastery of Hauterive, in Switzerland. Cf. CRC no. 325, September 1996.
(43) “Notre pèlerinage du 13 octobre 1996 à Fatima”, CRC no. 326, October 1996, p. 4-16, extracts.
(44) Conversation with Msgr. Ferreira, Correio da manha, May 13, 2002.
(45) Msgr. Antonio Monteiro, “Oecumenismo em Portugal”, Diario de noticias, January 17, 1993.
(46) Quoted in the CRC no. 368, May 2000, p. 50.
(47) “Cet adorable secret, notre unique espérance”, CRC no. 279, January 1992, p. 4.
(48) Quoted by A. M. Martins, Fatima, caminho da paz, Porto, 1983, p. 91.
(49) “Sous les ailes de la Sainte Colombe”, CRC no. 310, February-March 1995, p. 35.
(1) Uma vida ao serviço de Fatima, Porto, 1973, p. 382-384.
(1) Quoted in the periodical La Khémia,
no. 13, 1972, p. 17-18.
(2) Supra, p. 144.