Fatima and the “signs of the times” needs a closer look
Prologue: In search of a common point of departure and dialogue
While we should not recklessly seek signs from God, the Scriptures and the Second Vatican Council both assert that it is wise to be able to read the “signs of the times” (Mt. 16:3).1After all, if God does offer a sign to us, there could be serious consequences if we do not recognize and heed it.
So what are the “signs of the times” for us in this second decade of the third millennium, at the start of 2017?
I believe the “signs of the times” for us in the 21st century are the very signs that were revealed to Pope Leo XIII in 1884, and the children at Fatima in 1916 and 1917. I would further propose that it is a mistake for the world—especially for the Church—to relegate the mystical experience of Pope Leo XIII, and the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, to the historical past. Yet, that is what has happened. Especially with regard to Fatima, many, if not most, in the Vatican hierarchy seem to have dismissed the details of Mary’s warnings (including the so-called Third Secret) to the category of already-has-happened.
I believe nothing could be further from the truth. To dismiss the Fatima message today is like dismissing the sound of a fire alarm, and smoke detector going off, at the same time in one’s house. To a stunning degree, the world has actually embraced the offenses against purity and marriage which Our Lady warned about at Fatima. Today, a century later, we see the effects all around us: a contempt for the true meaning of marriage, a widespread delight in sexual depravity, and a sacrilegious disregard for the proper reception of Holy Communion.
Unless the Church returns to an acknowledgment of the importance of the Fatima event, and the enthusiastic teaching of its message (and especially a fierce opposition to satanic activity, as alluded to by Pope Leo XIII), my faith tells me that we are doomed to suffer the consequences.
However, God does not want us to suffer this! I believe that’s why He gave us the important signs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so we could repent and correct ourselves in the 21st.
Therefore, I am appealing to the Church hierarchy, to every priest and teaching authority in the Church, to reconsider the present indifference to the signs at Fatima, and the experience of Pope Leo XIII. Every lay Catholic should reconsider this, as well.
These important signs have been authenticated by the Church, and they have great relevance for us today. Pope Leo XIII received a sign from God in 1884, and, 33 years later, the three shepherd children of Fatima, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, received signs through apparitions from an Angel, and from Our Lady at Fatima, that spanned from 1915 through 1917.
Taken together, the message to Pope Leo XIII, and the apparitions of the Angel and Our Lady at Fatima, reveal a satanic plan: that Satan would try to destroy the Church during a period of 100 years.
Three important events
I would like to explore, in detail, the events behind these signs, because I believe we have not seen the conclusion of the messages. This is why it is urgent for the Church to revisit these events. Unless the Church leads her people to an acknowledgement of these warnings, and leads the way to a major repentance, we will still face the consequences.
The first event was the vision (or locution) of Pope Leo XIII on Oct. 13, 1884; the second was the appearance of an Angel to the three children of Fatima in 1916; and the third and final sign was the Oct. 13, 1917 apparition of Our Lady to the Fatima children. This last event and sign presented an especially urgent and dramatic message because it included the spinning of the sun, which appeared to thousands of people (including many atheists), as it hurtled toward the earth, as if to destroy mankind.
First event: In Pope Leo XIII’s post-communion vision or locution on Oct. 13, 1884, he overheard a conversation between God and Satan in which Satan challenged God by saying that he could destroy the Church if he had the time, and the power. He asked God for 100 years to test the Church, and God permitted it—most likely for His own honor and glory.2
This divine message to Leo XIII indicated that, in the end, St. Michael the Archangel would defeat Satan, and God’s power would shine forth on the world. This message echoes the accounts in Scripture where St. Michael defeats Satan in Rev. 12:7-12, and locks him up for a thousand years in Rev. 20:1-3. This is, no doubt, why Leo XIII wrote the Prayer to St. Michael, which was given to the Church after he heard the locution on Oct. 13, 1884—which prayer was recited at the end of every Mass up until the Second Vatican Council (at least, in the USA), and then mysteriously disappeared—though it lives on through countless Catholics around the world, who recite it regularly, if not daily. Obviously, this prayer should be reinstated at the conclusion of every Mass throughout the world.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen 3
Second Event: Thirty one years later, in 1915, and again in 1916, while Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco tended their sheep at Fatima, they received an apparition from an Angel, one each year. During the second apparition, the Angel appeared with a Chalice over which hung a Host, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice. Leaving the Chalice and Host suspended in the air, the angel prostrated himself in adoration before the Host and Chalice, and asked the Children to do the same. He then asked the children to repeat with him three times:
Most Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
The Angel then took the Host, and gave it to Lucia, and gave the Chalice to Jacinta, and Francisco, and said:
Take the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by thankless men. Recover their sins, and comfort your God.4
So, God is deeply offended by those who receive Holy Communion unworthily, and they must repent of these sacrileges. The clear message here is that sacrileges against the Eucharist will not go unpunished. Someone must do penance for these offences.
Third Event: The next year, on Oct. 13, 1917, just 33 years after Leo XIII’s locution, Our Blessed Mother appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima. The message of Our Lady of Fatima was quite simple. The world must repent of its sins, or God would punish the world. Our Lady asked the children to “Pray the Rosary and do penance for world peace.”5Later when Jacinta lay dying in the hospital in Lisbon, Our Lady told her, that the sins that offended God the most were the “sins of the flesh,” and that “many marriages are not good.”6 So how does a dying pre-pubecent, 10-year-old Jacinta come to know about these things in 1920? Sr. Lucia says:
She had often questioned me on this matter, and I think, now, that when in Lisbon, perhaps it occurred to her to put the question to Our Lady herself, and that this was the answer she received.7
This does not mean that the “sins of the flesh” or “bad marriages” are the worst sins, but that they are the ones that people commit most often, with the horrible result of eternal punishment.
Our Lady gave the children a sign—which she announced ahead of time—so that many would come to see and believe her message. During the apparition, Lucy pointed to the sky, and at that moment the clouds rolled back, and the sun seem to spin, and come crashing to the earth. Between fifty and seventy-five thousand people, who gathered on that day, became believers. The sea of mud they were standing in dried up immediately, and so did their clothes, which had become drenched from a three-day rain.8 Atheists who printed the report of the event in their secular newspapers were among the witnesses. One can even find photos9 of the newspapers’ stories in books about the Fatima miracle.10
The meaning of the “rain” and the threat of the “Sun” crashing to earth, in the context of Our Lady’s warning about avoiding sin, can be grasped by those familiar with Sacred Scripture. For it was the people of Noah’s time that were punished by a flood for taking human life, and it was Sodom and Gomorrah that were punished by fire from the sky for their “sins of the flesh,” especially “sodomy” which is the name given to homosexual acts (Gen. 6-9; 18-19). The threat was an echo of St. Paul’s teaching in the New Testament that “God’s wrath” is coming upon all those who practice “sexual immorality, impurity, and lust” and especially “unnatural lust” or homosexuality activity (Col. 3:5-5; Rom. 18-28). So, “God’s wrath” comes down upon the world when murder and sexual impurity—especially homosexual acts—become rampant. Why? Probably because these violations of life and love will bring the world to an end if allowed to continue.
Thus, Our Lady was warning the Church that Satan would try to destroy the Church, especially through the “sins of the flesh,” like bad marriages—made worse by “sacrilegious communions.” The message is that God is highly offended by these evils, and if they are not corrected, He will punish the world as in the days of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
The three signs are a warning from God
Gathering all the information together, it can be assumed that this satanic assault would be in our own historical times. The timing is hard to dispute when we consider that the signs reveal that Satan’s dual weapons would be “the sins of the flesh” and “sacrilegious communions.”
In fact, these two great evils are all around us today. At the same time, there has been very little correction of these evils in recent times, especially from Church leaders. No one can doubt that we are a long way from being united in our doctrine. This is very troubling because, according to the three signs which span the years from 1884 to 1917, unless the Church and world authorities act to oppose and correct these evils, Our Lady will not be able to “stay the arm of her Beloved Son upon the world” in justice. Then the earth will be purified, and God will once again be adored as He should be.11
If God’s hand falls upon the world, it will certainly be seen as a punishment, but it will actually be an act of God’s mercy. Why? Because, if mankind is permitted to continue on its anti-life path much longer, the end result will surely be death on a worldwide scale. Both reason and faith tell us that if mankind uses its free will to promote death, then death is what we will bring upon ourselves.
Consider that Paul VI predicted almost 50 years ago, in no.17 of Humanae Vitae, that contraception would lead to the collapse of marriage and families, and that women would be subject to violence, and be treated like objects. We live with this sad state of affairs every day. Now, add in every other evil that has become universally accepted in our world since 1968. We have gone far beyond contraception, to an acceptance of sterilizations, abortions, genocide, euthanasia, assisted suicide, homosexual marriages, and most recently, “gender dysfunction.”
Today we are in the midst of what John Paul II saw in 1995, and warned about in no.28 of Evangelium Vitae —the ever expanding growth of the “culture of death.” This is becoming a perfect storm of evils all around the world, and it is not far-fetched at all for people of faith to believe that this rampant acceptance of evil is leading us toward some kind of world suicide, perhaps mutual nuclear self-destruction. Obviously, mankind would not survive nuclear contamination—nor would it want to. This was part of the warning that Our Lady gave to Sr. Lucia after she went to the convent.12 The case has already be made that, today, we have a choice between “Fatima or World Suicide.”13
So evil must be opposed. If mankind will not do it, God will. If God does it, the result will probably be great suffering throughout the world. But no matter what happens, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph, and “a period of peace will be given to the world.”14
The warning was meant for us today
Today, we see Our Lady’s warnings acted out all around us. Statistics show contempt for marriage, and widespread divorce. Adultery and fornication are common. While “sodomy” has been around since antiquity, in 1917 the idea of legal “homosexual marriage”—especially on a worldwide scale—would have been inconceivable. Similarly, while abortion has played a sad role throughout human history, except for some brutal pagan cultures, abortion was certainly not glorified by societies, and protected by governments, as a “legal right” in 1917. Today, it is protected, even in traditional Catholic countries, which has led to the horrifying number of 1.5 billion babies murdered worldwide since 1980. And to think that after the flood, God said to Noah: “from man in regard to his fellow man, I will demand an accounting for human life” (Gen. 9:5).
And consider the sacrileges against Our Lord in Holy Communion. In 1917, I doubt you could find a practicing Catholic, in those days, who would not be horrified to hear that a Catholic was regularly receiving Communion despite being divorced and remarried, or practicing fornication, adultery, or acts of homosexuality.
Today, all these actions are being overlooked, shrugged off, or hushed up, and not just by ordinary Catholics in the pews, but by many clergy and leaders of the Church! It is as if the Church is going in the opposite direction from what the Angel of Fatima directed.
Who can deny that, today, the Church seems to be encouraging sacrilegious communions? A majority of German Bishops want the divorced and invalidly remarried to be able to receive Communion, even without an annulment, and without practicing complete continence.15 Similar thoughts are emerging in other nations, such as in the United States. Some bishops in these countries are promoting sacrileges (perhaps unknowingly) by interpreting the papal document, Amoris Laetitia, as if it gives permission for invalidly married couples, living in objective adultery, to receive Communion through the so-called “internal form solution” in confession.16 Others even go so far as to argue for open communion, defying the Church’s Canon 915, which requires ministers to refuse people Communion who are obstinately, and publicly, living in objective sin.17 Even the Vatican’s head of the department of Marriage and Family Life appears to say that, in some cases, people living in invalid marriages may be able to receive Communion without living as brother and sister.18
It appears that a number of bishops think that, if people do not believe, or do not know, that they are living in adultery, then they are free to receive Holy Communion, because there is no evil act and, therefore, no sacrilege. The truth is, that while a person may be free of sin because of their ignorance, the act itself remains an intrinsically evil act. The act itself still offends God! The Church clearly teaches that:
It is, therefore, an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them, or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc) which supply their context.
Furthermore, the Church teaches that:
…there are acts, which in themselves, independently of their circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy, murder and adultery. One may never do evil so that good may result from it. 19
And when objectively evil acts are combined with the reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, that is always a sacrilege. 20 It brings great harm to the Church, and invites a just punishment from God.
It is a mystery, and a sign of our troubled times, that this harmful teaching has not been corrected. It is a blow to authentic Church teaching, and it ignores the truth that the Scriptures, and St. Paul, cannot be in error. The joining of adultery with Holy Communion is fanning the flames of God’s “wrath” upon the Church, and the world. Surely, this is why there is so much confusion and disharmony in the Church among her leaders, and why the world is afflicted with escalating immorality, strife, violence, bloodshed, and war today.
Oct. 13, 1917 was probably Satan’s choice
Therefore, given the rampant spread of evil and sacrilege in the world since 1917, it is not beyond the realm of possibility—and, in fact, is likely to be true—that Satan chose to begin his 100-year war on the Church on Oct. 13, 1917. Perhaps, that date has satanic significance because it marks the 33rd year since Leo XIII had his vision/locution. Perhaps, Satan wanted to mock Our Lord’s 33 years on earth? It is not ours to know, but we can speculate.
Did Our Lady intervene in this satanic plan by asking and receiving permission from God, the Father, to warn the world? And did she do so through her apparitions and messages to the children of Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917? I believe the answer to these questions is “yes.”
If so, that means that Oct. 13, 2017 will mark the end of the 100-year reign of Satan. Therefore, that day, which will also mark the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima, will be important as a great Marian anniversary, and, perhaps, as a day of warning for the world. Again, there is so much we are not permitted to know, except that we can observe the state of our world, and we know that as of now, it has not repented of these sins of the flesh, or of sacrilegious communions. Instead, everything is growing worse, and at an accelerated rate.
So what is to be done?
The Church must revisit these urgent messages from Pope Leo XIII, and at Fatima, and act on the warnings. Listen to the words of the future St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who spoke in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community, realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.21
Where is the courage in the Church today? Of course, there are many, many courageous individuals, priests, religious, and lay people who are living in harmony with God’s laws. But the Church’s general image in the world is that she regards “climate change” as a graver problem than sacrileges, the breakup of families or unholy marriages! People are confused, and rightly so, and many of them are living as if they will never have to account to God for their actions.
Yet, the Church hierarchy seems to be helpless in the face of the world’s moral collapse. They even seem to have lost interest in doing more in regard to Fatima. A May 13, 2000, a Vatican document states:
Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it, little by little, with great strides.22
This is ambiguous. It is important to note that the Vatican itself is not certain if we have seen the “complete fulfillment” of the Fatima prophecy. Once more, there seems to be a fatalistic focus on the remaining negative conclusion of the prophecy, rather than on Our Lady’s requested solutions.
This focus is incorrect. In fact the message of Fatima is only reaching its climax. Similarly, few people realize that this promise of a “period of peace” by Our Lady of Fatima could very well be referring to the final battle between good and evil, which begins with a “period of peace,” in which the “full inclusion of Jews” and the “full number of Gentiles” will be brought into the Church.23 This “period of peace” is of unknown duration. It could last for months, decades, years or even centuries.
The only solution
Does this mean that on Oct. 13, 2017 a chastisement will occur? We cannot know, but we can read the signs of the times. If the Church unites, and courageously begins to teach the truth, Oct. 13, 2017 could mark the beginning of a new era, when the kingdom of Satan will begin to disintegrate through the courageous works of the Church.
However, if the leaders of the Church, and the world fail to stop these evils, God Himself will do so by “handing over” mankind to more “shameful” and “perverse” deeds of “mutual degradation of their bodies” and “degrading passions”—perhaps beyond the homosexual acts mentioned by St. Paul (1 Rm. 1: 24-32). God will “hand over” mankind to Satan, to drive the world back to God, through worldwide calamities, disasters, and diseases.
Our Lady warns the world so the world can avoid these chastisements. The solution asked for by Our Lady and St. Michael is clear. It is the same solution that they have been asking of us—and not receiving from us—since 1917: the daily and worthy reception of Holy Communion, daily adoration the Blessed Sacrament in reparation for the “outrages” and “sacrileges” committed against the Blessed Sacrament; and daily praying of the Rosary. Only this time we better do it because the punishment will surely be greater than the last, i.e., the spread of communism, war, and the destruction of many nations.
Some will surely say that doing these religious acts “daily” is too much to expect. Why “daily”? The answer is that it is now too late for half measures. We must do these requests of Our Lady as close to “daily” as possible. There is still time left. Remember God’s mercy. We must not despair. When these duties are joyfully accepted and practiced, along with the penances that come from our state in life, God will be pleased. When enough of the entire Church, led by the Pope, bishops, deacons, and priests, make these efforts throughout the world, Satan’s power will end. We will surely avoid the chastisement that justice demands, and peace will come to the world.
And if our Church leaders still refuse to do what Our Lady has been requesting since 1917, then I believe that we must prepare for penance—a lot of it—and soon.
- John XXIII, “Pope John Convokes the Council,” found in The Documents of Vatican II, edited by Walter M. Abbott, S.J. (Corpus Books: New York, 1966), p. 704. ↩
- wjpbr.com/leoxiii.html ↩
- EWTN, National Catholic Register, ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/michael.htm ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, (New York: J.P. Kennedy & Sons, 1948), p. 6 ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, (New York: J.P. Kennedy & Sons, 1948), p. 6 ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, p. 137. ↩
- Sr. Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, Fatima: in Lucia’s own words,8th edition, ed. by Fr. Louis Kondor SVD (Fatima Portugal: Postulation Center,1989), p. 107 ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, p. 108; patheos.com/blogs/kathyschiffer/2014/10/so-that-all-may-believe-the-miracle-of-the-sun ↩
- images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=Fatima+Miracle+of+the+Sun ↩
- John de Marchi, Fatima from the Beginning (Fatima: Missoes Consolata, 1988), pictures between pages 96-97. ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, pp. 135-136. ↩
- Sr. Lucia responds to Journalist’s Aura Miguel of Radio Renascenca of Portugal interview of John Paul II during a Jan 25, 1990 flight to Africa, found in “John Paul II and Sister Lucia Relate Current Events to Fatima,” Soul Magazine (May-June, 1990). ↩
- Rt. Rev. Wm. C. McGrath, P.A., Fatima or World Suicide” (St. Meinrad, In.: The Abbey Press, 1959). ↩
- John de Marchi, The Crusade of Fatima, p. 47. ↩
- Jonathan Luxmoore, “German Bishops Speak Out on Communion for Divorced, Remarried,” America (Catholic New Service), Jan. 2, 2015. ↩
- Catholic World News, “San Diego’s Bishop McElroy strongly encourages Communion for divorced / remaried,”Nov.29, 2016 (Catholic Culture.org Nov. 29, 2016) ↩
- John Henry Westen and Pete Baklinski, “Archbishop Cupich lays out path way for gay couples to receive Communion at Vatican pres scrum” Life Site News, Oct. 16, 2015. ↩
- Cindy Wooden, “Bishops need shared approach to “Amoris Laetitia,” Catholic News Agency, found in National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 16, 2016. ↩
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1756 ↩
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1756 ↩
- catholic.org/news/national/story.php?id=57376 ↩
- vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html ↩
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, no.674. ↩