Dieu veut établir dans le monde la dévotion à mon Cœur Immaculé. Notre-Dame, le 13 juillet 1917

Extract from chapter 15 of Mystères et vérités cachées du troisième secret de Fatima (The Hidden Mysteries and Truths of the Third Secret of Fatima) by Joseph de Belfont (Nouvelles Editions Latines).

The term « commentary » refers the document entitled Theological Commentary, to be found in the dossier joined to the third secret made public by the Vatican on the 26th of June 2000.

The three types of visions

The commentary recalls the perfectly traditional distinction between the three types of vision:

Theological anthropology distinguishes between three forms of perception or “vision”:  vision with the senses, and hence exterior, bodily perception;  interior perception;  and spiritual vision (visio sensibilis – imaginativa – intellectualis).

More specifically, Abbé Adolphe Tanquerey[i] in his Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology explains:

Visions are supernatural perceptions of an object which is naturally invisible to man.  They are only revelations when they reveal hidden truths.  There are three kinds:  perceptible, imaginary, or purely intellectual.

1)    Perceptible or corporeal visions, also called apparitions, are those whereby the senses perceive an objective reality which is naturally invisible to man.  It is not necessary for the perceived object to be a flesh and blood body, it just has to be a visible or luminous form.  Thus, with Saint Thomas, it is commonly thought that Our Lord, after his Ascension, only very rarely appeared in person;  He generally only appears in a perceptible form which is not His real body.  When He appears in the Eucharist this can be explained in two ways, says Saint Thomas:  either by a miraculous impression in the eyes of the beholder (which is the case when He makes Himself seen to only one person);  or by the formation in the surrounding air of a real and perceptible form, but which is distinct from Our Lord’s body Itself;  because, he adds, the body of Our Lord can only be seen in its own form in one place:  “Corpus Christi non potest in propria specie videri nisi in uno loco, in quo definitive continetur” (Sum. Theol., III, q.76, a.8).  What is said about Our Lord applies to the Holy Virgin;  thus, when She appeared at Lourdes, Her body remained in Heaven and, at the site of the apparition, there was only a perceptible form which represented Her.  This explains how she appeared sometimes in one form and sometimes in another.

2)    Imaginary or imaginative visions are those produced in our imaginations by God or His angels, either in a waking or a sleeping state.  It was in this way that an angel appeared several times to Saint Joseph whilst he slept, and Saint Teresa tells of several imaginary visions of the Humanity of Our Lord that she had in a waking state (The Life of Saint Teresa of Jesus, ch. 28);  these visions are often accompanied by an intellectual vision explaining their significance (Life of St. Teresa, ch. 29).  ( … )

3)    Intellectual visions are those whereby the mind perceives a spiritual truth, without perceptible forms:  such was the vision that Saint Teresa had of the Holy Trinity ( … ).  These visions occur either through ideas already received, but which God co-ordinates or modifies, or by innate kinds which better represent divine things than do received ideas.  Sometimes they are obscure and only show the presence of the object (Life of St. Teresa, ch.27, p.336);  at other times they are clear, but only last for a moment:  they are like intuitions which leave a profound impression (Château, 6e Dem., ch.X, p.262).

There are visions which combine two or three characteristics.  Thus, the vision of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus was perceptible, when he saw the tremendous light, imaginative when Ananias’ features were shown to his imagination, and intellectual when he understood what was God’s will for him.[ii]

However, after having recognised the existence of three types of vision, the commentary considerably limits their scope by asserting that whether the vision be internal or external, the seer necessarily deforms that which he has seen:

“Interior vision” … also has its limitations.  Even in exterior vision the subjective element is always present.  We do not see the pure object, but it comes to us through the filter of our senses, which carry out a process of translation. 

In the case of interior vision, the process of translation is even more extensive than in exterior vision, for the subject shares in an essential way in the formation of the image of what appears.  He can arrive at the image only within the bounds of his capacities and possibilities.  Such visions therefore are never simple “photographs” of the other world, but are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject.

According to the commentary, because of our senses, visions, whether they be exterior or interior, can only be related in a deficient manner.  In other words, the account of the apparitions is only a more or less distorted translation of what the seer saw internally or externally;  it is not an exact description of the observed object.  Henceforth, it will be possible to limit the range of the vision to the limits of the seer and thereby exclude certain characteristics of the apparition which could be considered as inconvenient.

The type of visions at Fatima

The commentary then categorically excludes that the apparitions at Fatima could be exterior or perceptible visions and deliberately classes them as interior visions:

It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses:  the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as in the case for example of a tree or a house.  ( … ) 

Therefore we are dealing with the middle category, interior perception.  For the visionary, this perception certainly has the force of a presence, equivalent for that person to an external manifestation to the senses.  ( … )

It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses.

( … )  The images described by them [the children of Fatima] … should not be thought of as if for a moment the veil of the other world were drawn back, with heaven appearing in its pure essence, as one day we hope to see it in our definitive union with God.

The commentary thereby denies the reality of exterior phenomena and only sees in the visions at Fatima an interior perception on the part of the seers and considers that at Fatima, as at Lourdes, the figures seen by the visionaries did not exist externally in space!  The description of the Holy Virgin by the children would thereby only be an image of what they had perceived internally!  In other words, Our Lady did not come to Fatima:  the seers only had an interior perception of Her presence.

It should be pointed out that this remark applies to the whole of the Holy Virgin’s apparitions, as it is clearly stated “In the visions at Lourdes, Fatima and other places…”  This text therefore has a general scope and is not limited to the apparitions at Fatima.

At the end of the document, the commentary goes even further:  it affirms that the vision of the official secret has been, purely and simply, added by Sister Lucia:

The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.

The conclusion of the secret, in other words, the two angels collecting the blood of martyrs in aspersoria, does not come from the Holy Virgin but from ancient intuitions of the faith!  It would be interesting to know in which devotional book Sister Lucia could have found such an image.

It is certain that Sister Lucia was of the completely opposite opinion:  she is sure that she really saw the Holy Virgin, just as she hopes to see Her one day in Heaven.  In 1924, before the Canonical Commission of Inquiry, Lucia affirmed:

I am certain that I saw Her and that I am not mistaken.  Even if I were to be killed, no-one would make me say the contrary![iii]

During the course of her life, Sister Lucia did not only have perceptible visions.  She was subject to three types of visions.  The inspirations which she received from Heaven in response to her questions will be, most often, interior perceptions.  However, the theophanic vision at Tuy belongs to the second type, as Sister Lucia said that she saw and there is no reason to doubt her testimony.  But the persons or objects of this image were not physically present, in particular God the Father:  thus, it is difficult to classify it as a perceptible vision.  The vision of Hell can also be ranked in this category because, as the commentary notes, the fire did no damage at Cova da Iria, which is exact.  Hell was not, therefore, physically in front of the little seers:  they saw it owing to the light coming from the Virgin’s hands.  But the fact that the vision of hell is in the category of imaginative visions does not mean that the same can be said for the rest of the vision because, as abbé Tanquerey says, there is nothing to prevent there being several different perceptions during the course of the same apparition.  Moreover, this double perception already occurred in the first apparition on the 13th of May 1917.  From the reflection coming from the hands of the Holy Virgin, the little shepherds saw themselves in God:  this vision is most probably an intellectual vision which came along with the perceptible vision of the Holy Virgin.  In the apparitions of 1917, it is easy to discern the imaginative and intellectual visions, as they are preceded by Holy Virgin’s gesture of opening Her hands and by a ray emanating from her hands as if to materialise the grace of the given image.

But the visions of Our Lady are, for sure, perceptible visions.  It is certain that the Holy Virgin appeared to the little shepherds in an exterior, perceptible form.  This is because the physical phenomena which accompanied Her coming and which were observed by a great number of witnesses cannot be the fruit of an imaginative vision.  Their number is impressive.  It is precisely this which is one of the extraordinary and marvellous characteristics of the apparitions at Fatima.  We will give some evidence to show the absolute certainty of exterior visions manifesting, without the slightest doubt, the actual presence of a person from Heaven.

The witnesses

Not only the seers, but also all those who received the grace to witness the apparitions observed these physical phenomena, and this for all the apparitions, not only during the Miracle of the Sun.  Nowhere other than at Fatima did the Holy Virgin surround Her coming and authenticate Her presence with such numerous and extraordinary signs.  And the witnesses to this were particularly numerous:  around fifty for the second apparition, between three and four thousand at the third apparition, 18 to 20,OOO at the fourth, 25 to 30,000 at the fifth and around 70,000 at the last apparition, some of them being sometimes several kilometres from the site of the apparitions!

Most surprising is the disparity of the witnesses who viewed these phenomena.  On the 13th of September, several witnesses reported having seen nothing, such as Monsieur Mendès, or Canon Formiâgo, while on the 13th of August, all the witnesses were able to see the different phenomena.  This disparity in seeing categorically excludes the hypothesis of a collective hallucination because amongst those who saw nothing, there were some who would have wanted to see with all their heart and soul.  Conversely, among the non-believers present who were firmly decided that they would see nothing, many saw.

Also very surprising is the fact that, on the 13th of August 1917, the 18,000 witnesses had observed something while the little seers were not there:  they were imprisoned at Vila Nova de Ourem.  In this situation there was no psychological stimulus to push the people to see something:  quite the contrary!  However, many saw, increasing even further their faith in the apparitions, as the parish priest of Fatima, abbé Ferreira, noticed, writing at the time:

According to the thousands of witnesses, the absence of the children did not prevent the Queen of Angels showing Her power.  Everyone testified to the extraordinary events and phenomena which confirmed and deepened their faith.

If the vision of the little seers was purely interior, how did thousands of people see the phenomena on the 13th of August?

The attitude of the seers

The three little shepherds saw exactly the same thing and in the same direction.  How could an interior vision of three people be identical to this extent?  The apparition’s blinding character also proves the real presence of the Holy Virgin’s Glorious Body, as Lucia often had to lower her eyes, such was the force of the light emanating from the Holy Virgin.  To Canon Formigâo, who asked her during the summer of 1917:  “Why do you often lower your eyes and stop looking at Our Lady?”, she replied:  “Because sometimes she dazzles me”.[iv]  In the account that she gave of the apparition of the 13th of October, she said:  “She came at the centre of a great light.  Once again, she was blinding.  From time to time I had to rub my eyes.”[v]  If the vision was strictly interior, how could this have been possible?  How could a little, uneducated, girl of ten years be able to invent such detail?

The murmurings of the apparition

The witnesses who were sufficiently close to the seers heard a slight murmur.  Here is the testimony of Maria Carreira as told by Father De Marchi:  “Then we began to hear something like the sound of a faint voice;  but without understanding what was being said;  it was like the humming of a bee.”[vi]  Canon Barthas also recorded that, during the second apparition, “Maria de la Capelinha [real name, Maria Carreira] and other witnesses, told that they heard, in between Lucia speaking, like the murmur of a light, but unintelligible, voice.”[vii]  Monsieur Marto, the father of Jacinta and Francisco, also admitted to hearing this slight noise during the apparition of the 13th of July:  “Then, he said, I began to hear a sound, a humming, something like the noise of a big fly in an empty jar.  But I didn’t hear any words…”[viii]

The holm oak

The closest witnesses also saw other phenomena which are difficult to attribute to interior visions.  One of them stated:  “During the vision, the branches of the bush curved down on all sides, as if they had really carried the weight of Our Lady.”  Another witness tells:  “It was the month of June and the tree had all its branches covered with long, young, shoots.  But at the end of the apparition, when Lucia announced that Our Lady was leaving towards the east, all the branches of the tree came together and bent over on the same side, as if Our Lady, in leaving, had trailed her dress over them.”

The same account from Maria Carreira:  “Then turning towards the miraculous holm oak, we were very surprised to see that the little branches at the top, which before had been quite straight, were now a little inclined towards the east, as if they had really been trodden upon by someone.”[ix]

The flash of lightning and the luminosity of the day

If hearing the murmur and the vision of the holm-oak was reserved for the witnesses closest to the seers, other phenomena could be observed by a great number of witnesses:

  • There was a flash a lightning and a big clap of thunder at the beginning and end of each apparition;  the thunderclap at the beginning terrified some people, so much so that they cried out that they were going to die;
  • The luminosity of the day dimmed, as if during an eclipse;
  • It changed so much that the atmosphere turned a golden yellow;
  • The temperature, which had been very hot, lowered noticeably.

And these phenomena occurred at each of the six apparitions.

The flash of lightning and the thunder were seen and heard by the 18 to 20,000 people present at Cova da Iria on the 13th of August while the little seers were in prison at Vila Nova de Ourem.  How could all these people have had the same interior perception of this noise at the same time?  The fact that it includes an audible perception makes a collective hallucination totally impossible, especially as at least 13,000 of them came for the first time, there having been only 5,000 on the 13th of July.

Another phenomenon which was seen by most of the people:

 Then looking around us, we saw a strange thing, which we had already seen the time before, and which we were to see again later on.  People’s faces were all the colours of the rainbow:  pink, red, blue …  The trees seemed not to have branches and leaves, but only flowers;  all of them seemed to be covered with flowers, and every leaf seemed like a flower.  The ground looked like it was covered in tiles of different colours.  Clothes, too, were all the colours of the rainbow.  The two lanterns attached to the arch seemed to be made of gold.[x]

Finally, people who were not at the site of the apparitions could observe similar phenomena.  Most surprising of all is, without doubt, that which happened on the 19th of August.  On that day, towards 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when the little seers were at Valinhos, Teresa, Lucia’s sister, came home with her husband.  She had no reason to think that there had been an apparition, as it was six days after the 13th of August, and in the middle of the afternoon.  But this is what she said:

We were just coming into Fatima when we began to notice that the air had cooled;  the sun took on a yellow colour, and gave out different colours all around, just as had happened on the 13th at Cova da Iria.  ‘Oh!  What’s this?’ I said to my husband…  ‘It’s a mystery!’  I even began to see the colours I spoke of on his white shirt.  ‘Are we all under an illusion?’ I said to him.  ‘What do you mean?’ he asked me.  ‘Well, don’t you see that everything’s like the 13th?’  When we arrived at the Church, it was all over.  Later, we learned that at the same hour, Our Lady had again appeared to the little ones at “Valinhos”.

The white cloud and the flakes

The thunderclap was not the only phenomenon perceived by far-off witnesses.  One of them tells:  “The thunderclap was followed by a flash of lightning, and immediately after we all began to notice a little cloud, which was very pretty, white in colour, very light and which floated for a few moments above the holm oak, then rose towards the sky and disappeared into thin air.”[xi]

For his part, Monsieur Marto summarises his own experience of the 13th of July as follows:

Personally, I looked all around, and I saw nothing.  However, on paying closer attention, I saw like a little ashen cloud floating over the holm oak.  The sun darkened and there was a cool, pleasant breeze.  It no longer felt as if we were at the height of summer.  The people were so impressed that they were speechless.[xii]

Excited by the phenomena of the 13th of August, there were even more witnesses on the following 13th of September:  between 25 and 30,000 people.  That day, the signs were even more extraordinary.  A shining globe moved majestically around in the sky, which was perfectly blue and cloudless.  A cloud similar to an incensement formed and disappeared three times in a row above the holm oak.  Here is how Canon Barthas described the phenomenon:

A cloud, pleasant to look at, formed around the rustic arch which overlooked the little, splintered tree trunk.  Rising up from the ground, the cloud grew and rose in the air until it reached a height of five or six metres, then it vanished like smoke dissipating in the wind.  A few moments later, similar curls of cloud formed and disappeared in the same way.  And then again a third time.  Everything happened as if there were invisible thurifers liturgically incensing the Vision.  Altogether, the three “incensations” lasted the whole time of the apparition, in other words, ten to fifteen minutes.[xiii]

Monseigneur Jean Quaresma, who would later be vicar general of the diocese of Leiria and member of the Canonical Commission investigating the apparitions, wrote to Monseigneur Manuel do Carmo Gois who was with him at the apparition:

After a few minutes, exactly the time that the apparitions normally lasted, the little girl started to cry out again, pointing to the sky:  “Now it’s going up again!”  And she continued to follow the shining globe with her eyes just until it disappeared in the direction of the sun.

“What do think about this globe?” I then asked you.  You seemed excited by what we had seen.  You then replied, without hesitation:  “It was Our Lady who came !”  This was also my own conviction.  The little shepherds had seen the Mother of God herself.  It had been given to us to see what was in the way of the vehicle which transported Her from Heaven to the inhospitable moor of Serra de Aire.

We should say that most of the people who were there had observed the same thing that we had.  Cries of joy and praises to Our Lady could be heart on all sides.  However, certain people had seen nothing.  Near us, a pious and simple woman cried bitterly because she had not seen anything.

We felt really happy.  You were so excited, going from group to group, from Cova da Iria up to the road, finding out about what had been seen !  The people questioned belonged to all social classes.  All of them affirmed  the reality of the phenomenon that we ourselves had observed.[xiv]

That day, there had also been a mysterious shower of flakes which vanished as they reached the ground, a phenomenon which repeated itself on the 13th of May 1918 and the 13th of May 1924.  There are many testimonies on this extraordinary phenomenon, for example:

Very high up could be seen all sorts of little white forms, like snowflakes, moving through the air from the East to the West.  You would have thought they were doves, but it could clearly be seen that they were not birds.  On the hill, towards the West, was the Reverend Father Joaquim Ferreira Gonçalvès das Neyes, the parish priest of Santa Catarina da Serra…  I turned towards him and asked him if he saw anything.  He replied no.  I pointed out to him the direction, and he at once declared that he too could see.[xv]

The parish priest of Santa Catarina was a witness most unlikely to be suspected of complacency regarding the apparitions because he had warned his parishioners against them.  He even went as far as saying from the pulpit:  “The devil disguises himself as an angel of light.”[xvi]

Of the 25 to 30,000 witnesses about a third declared that they saw nothing.  In particular, many of those who wanted to see announced that they had seen nothing, while others, the simply curious or hardened non-believers, admitted having seen the phenomena.[xvii]  This disparity categorically eliminates any purely natural explanation, in the way that the number of witnesses having seen eliminates the hypothesis of a collective hallucination.  In his letter of approval of the cult of Fatima, Monseigneur the Bishop of Leiria declared the phenomenon as “humanly inexplicable”.

The Miracle of the Sun

The miracle of the sun is the most astonishing phenomenon of all the apparitions.  It is sufficiently well-known that it does not need to be described here.  It is also one of the most solidly established historical facts, much more than many other historical facts that no-one would ever dream of doubting.

First of all, the place, day and hour were precisely predicted.  How could young, uneducated children have been able to make such a prediction without it having been communicated to them by a celestial being?

Next, the sky was overcast all morning:  no-one could have thought that the phenomenon would come from the sun as it had not been seen all morning.  On the contrary, many people expected a completely different type of miracle and thought that the war would finish that day in some kind of extraordinary way.  It is therefore impossible that it could be a collective hallucination.

At the appointed hour, the sky suddenly cleared, and people’s clothes, which had been soaked by the rain falling from the beginning of the morning, dried out after the quarter of an hour that the Dance of the Sun lasted.  Here again, it is impossible to attribute this phenomenon to collective imagination.

The Dance of the Sun was seen not only by those who were at Cova da Iria, but also by people several kilometres around.  Thus, the poet Alfonso Lopes Vieira, who was in his country house at the edge of the sea at Sao Pedro, forty kilometres from Fatima, could observe the phenomenon, which greatly surprised him.  He recounted:  “On that day, the 13th of October, while I hadn’t remembered the little seers’ predictions, I was amazed by a dazzling sight in the sky, something entirely new for me, which I watched from this balcony.”[xviii]

The inhabitants of the little village of Albiturel, about ten kilometres from there, also saw it.

I was barely nine years old at the time, says abbé Inacio Lourenço Pereira.  I went to the primary school where I was born, a little village perched on a solitary hill, just opposite the mountain of Fatima, ten or eleven kilometres away.  It was around mid-day, when suddenly we were alarmed by the cries and shouts of men and women on the public path in front of the school.  ( … )  Outside, in the square, the assembled people were crying and screaming, pointing at the sun, without even hearing the questions our anxious teacher asked them…

( … )  I looked steadily at the sun:  it seemed to me to be pale and lacking its dazzling brightness;  it looked like a globe of snow turning around on itself.  Then, suddenly, it seemed to come down in a zig-zag , threatening to fall to earth.

Panicked, absolutely panicked, I ran into the middle of the people.  Everyone was crying, waiting, any moment now, for the end of the world.  ( … )

During the long minutes of the solar phenomenon, objects near us reflected all the colours of the rainbow …  Our faces were red, then blue, then yellow, etc.  These strange phenomena added to our terror.

At the end of ten minutes, the sun went back to its place in the same way it had come down, still pale and dull.[xix]

Most surprising of all is that the fiercest adversaries of the apparitions, at the time the most powerful people in Portugal, never produced a single witness from someone affirming that they saw nothing on that day !  They tried to prove that it was a natural phenomenon, but they never pretended that it was only an hallucination.  But even if the phenomenon was purely natural, how was it that the three little shepherds were able to predict it three months earlier?

A vision which is necessarily perceptible

How can we reasonably believe that all these phenomena, especially the great solar miracle, were imaginative visions, particularly when they were observed by several thousands of people, some of whom were not even at the site of the apparitions?  The commentary carefully avoids the subject.  Moreover, it is astonishing that Vatican dossier never makes the slightest allusion to the solar miracle, one of the most solidly established throughout the entire history of mankind.  And for several years now, the Vatican has not once broached the subject.  Why ?

Furthermore, such a phenomenon is not against the faith.  The Gospel itself predicts such phenomena.  “… and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven …  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars …  for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”  (Luke 21: 11, 25-26)  There will be signs in the sun!  It can’t be any clearer !

Also, the presence of the Holy Virgin during the apparitions at Fatima is an absolute certainty.  The importance of the exterior phenomena, especially the three incensations of the 13th of September 1917, even seem to prove that She came with Her Glorious Body.  There would have to have been a fair amount of mischief on the part of Heaven if this was not the case.  Would the angels, who see constantly our Heavenly Mother, have incensed a simple, perceptible form?

The presence of Our Lady with her Glorious Body is not anything which goes against the faith.  The existence of the Glorious Body is part of our faith.  It is attested in the Gospel itself during the appearance of Christ to his apostles after His Resurrection.  This is how we know about certain of its characteristics:  weightless, passing through walls, but being able to eat like everyone else, etc.  The study of angels shows us other examples of the Glorious Body operating in the life of men.  And after their death, numerous saints or damned persons[xx] have appeared and left physical traces of their passage.

Despite this, the commentary affirms clearly that during the course of the apparitions at Fatima, there was neither exterior phenomena, nor any object belonging to our usual perceptible world:  the little seers only had an interior vision.  It is one or the other:  either the author of the commentary knows little about the apparitions at Fatima, which, in his situation, is wholly unlikely;  or, alas, that he agrees with the interpretation of Father Dhanis and considers these phenomena to have been invented by the seers and the witnesses.  If this is the case, the words reported by the little seers are also invented.  In fact, as there was only an interior vision, no words were actually pronounced by the Holy Virgin in person:  the little seers only translated their internal perceptions into images and words which were limited by their own possibilities:  therefore, they could only have been the projections of their interior world of children.

Without saying so explicitly, the answer given by the commentary to the question posed in the introduction is that there was not really any communication from the Holy Virgin, but only an imaginative vision that the little seers translated, saying the the Holy Virgin had spoken to them

However, this position is not shared by everyone.  Eminent prelates have expressed the opposite point of view.  Thus, two months after the release of the dossier, Monseigneur Hnilica made it known to Cardinal Ratzinger that he did not share the opinion of the commentary:

It seems to me, after having thought it over all summer, that there is no proof that all these apparitions and visions of the Holy Virgin belong to what Your Eminence calls “the middle way” or “interior perception”.  And if there is no proof, it is evident that one cannot say “It is clear that”.  Your Eminence knows, better than I, how the dogma of the Assumption of Mary was never liked by certain liberal and rationalist theologians who still try to tone it down.  Also, I wonder if we should refuse, without proof and a priori, the possibility of the corporal presence of the Most Holy Virgin in these apparitions.  Why could the Virgin Mary, who rose to Heaven with her body, not appear with her body?[xxi]

For all those who refuse to doubt the reality of the exterior phenomena and the honesty of the little seers, the position taken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is unacceptable.  It is not up to us to decide with certainty whether or not the Holy Virgin came with Her Glorious Body.  But the exterior manifestations at Cova da Iria were so numerous and varied that it is very probable, even if abbé Tanquerey teaches that at Lourdes the Holy Virgin did not appear with Her Glorious Body:  what could be true for Lourdes is not necessarily true for Fatima.  We will continue, therefore, to believe that the Holy Virgin really came six times to Cova da Iria with Her Glorious Body, showed Herself to the children, spoke to them, and manifested Her presence to all the people present by unmistakable physical signs.

[i]     Adolphe Tanquerey (1854-1932) of the Society of the Priest of Saint Sulpice, Doctor of Theology.  His book, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, is a reference on the subject.  Jean-Paul II confided to André Frossard that as a young man, before entering the seminary, this book was his grounding and that he knew it by heart.  It can be consulted on the website Calaméo.com.
[ii]    Tanquerey, ibid., part 2, book 3, chapter 3, n°1491;  p.934 in the 1928 edition of Desclées et Cie.
[iii]   Castelbranco, p.75.
[iv]    Novos documentos, p.35.  De Marchi, p.174.  TVF1, p.198.  TVF5, p.57.
[v]     De Marchi, p.209.  TVF1, p.198
[vi]    De Marchi, p.101
[vii]   Barthas, pp.122 and 123
[viii]  De Marchi, p.113.  TVF1, p.225
[ix]    De Marchi, p.104.
[x]     Testimony of Maria Careira, De Marchi, p.136.  TVF1, p.251.
[xi]    Account given by Maria Careira, TVF3, p.537.
[xii]   Barthas, p.123.  De Marchi, p.113.  TVF1, p.225.
[xiii]  Barthas, pp.127 and 128. TVF5, p.96 quoting Barthas, Fatima, merveille inouïe, pp.203-204.
[xiv]   De Marchi, pp.165-166.  Barthas, pp.126-127. TVF1, p.275.
[xv]    TVF1, p.274, quoting Dom Jean-Nesmy, p.115.
[xvi]   TVF1, p.274, note 3, quoting Fatima, 1917-1968 from Canon Barthas, p.225.
[xvii]  TVF1, pp.284 and 285.
[xviii] De Marchi, p.204.
[xix]   Barthas, p.136.  TVF5 p.112.
[xx]    In the case of the damned, see in particular the little book L’Enfer de Monseigneur de Ségur.
[xxi]   TVF4, p.514, quoting la Revue de l’Institut du Christ-Roi Souverain Prêtre, n°23, May 2001.

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