Newsletter n° 34 (31th of August 2016)
One question which is often asked regarding the words pronounced by the Holy Virgin at Fatima : how much credit should we give to them ? As, apart from what Our Lady said about hell (see newsletter n°33), certain words are full of hope, but are also surprising :
- « He (Jesus) wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces this devotion. » (13th of June) (See newsletters n°5 and n°29)
- « Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace in the world and an end to the war. » (13th of May and the 13th of July) (See newsletters n°2 and n°31)
- « To prevent it (the war), I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month. » (13th of July) (See newsletter n°17)
Were these words really said by Our Lady in person, as Sister Lucia has always affirmed ? Here is the response given by the Vatican in the Theological Commentary which can be found in the file published with the third secret, on the 26th of June 2000. (See the document on the Vatican file) :
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 is the case, for example, with a tree or a house. (…) It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses.
With regard to the third part of the secret revealed on that day, the Commentary affirms :
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.
Thus, for the Vatican, at Fatima, the little seers only had an interior vision. Consequently, there were not really any words pronounced by Our Lady. (Moreover, the closest witnesses heard perfectly the murmur of a voix responding to Lucia’s questions.) And, without saying it explicitly, the Commentary reaches the conclusion that Sister Lucia invented the secret drawing on what she read or what her parents taught her. This is also what Monsigneur Ré, assessor, and ranking third at the Department of State, confided one day to Abbé Caillon :
If we were sure that it is really the Holy Virgin who is asking that all the Bishops in the world unite with the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we would do it. But it’s not clear. We also have our own archives.
Moreover, the only Fatima specialist mentioned by the Commentary, to the exclusion of the best Fatima experts such as Father Alonso, Canon Barthas, Canon Formigâo, etc., is Father Dhanis, described as a « Flemish theologian and eminent scholar in this field » even though he always refused to meet Sister Lucia and to read the totality of the documents on Fatima. Yet, in an article referred to by the Commentary (Sguardo su Fatima e bilancio di una discussione), Father Dhanis affirms : « Ecclesiastical approval (of the apparitions) ( … ) does not expressly guarantee the reality of a communication with Heaven. »
Father Dhanis’ thesis on Fatima can be summed up as follows : the apparitions of 1917 are probably authentic, but the message disseminated afterwards is Sister Lucia’s invention. According to Father Dhanis, the only true thing in the message is the call to prayer and penitance ; everything else is just a child’s imagination. Here are a few of his conclusions drawn from articles which appeared during the 1950s in the reviews Streven and Nouvelle Revue Théologique.
About the apparitions of the Angel :
One dare not dismiss absolutely the hypothesis of a an account based mostly on imagination and on which one does feel able to take a position.
About the vision of hell :
The little seers received a very intense consciousness of the horror of sin and damnation and this consciousness evoked, little by little, a vision in their imagination.
On the memoirs of Sister Lucia in general :
It is not easy to clarify the credit which must be given to Sister Lucia’s reports. Without doubting her sincerity, or the sound judgement which she shows in everyday life, one must consider it prudent to rely on her writings with caution. (…) A person can be sincere and show sound judgement in everyday life, but also have a propensity for unconscious invention in a particular area or, in any case, add embellishments and considerable modifications to memories which are twenty years old. ( … )
Certain minds invent stories and persuade themselves that they really happened. In their imagination, they are genuine. (… )
Throughout the years, certain external events and certain of Lucia’s spiritual experiences have embellished the original contents of the secret.
Of course, Sister Lucia is of quite the opposite opinion : she is sure that she really saw the Holy Virgin. In 1924, she affirmed to the canonical commission of enquiry : « I am certain of what I saw and I am not mistaken. Even if I were to be killed, no-one could make me say the opposite ! »
Furthermore, numerous exterior manifestations indicate beyond any doubt the presence of an invisible personage and the number of people who were witness to this categorically excludes all possibility of a simple interior vision. (See newsletters n°8 and n°10)
Moreover, how can the prophecy regarding the miracle of the sun be explained ? It was certainly not able to be found in « devotional books » nor invented by three young, uneducated children aged 7, 8, and 10. (See newsletter n°12) Finally, all the people who knew Sister Lucia well have always affirmed that she was honest and had an excellent memory. One of her nieces, Sister Maria Inès da Eucaristia, said of her : « The virtue which best characterises Sister Lucia, is sincerity and rectitude. » It is therefore difficult to imagine that Sister Lucia could be able to ‘’invent’’ her memoirs.
Also, even if the Vatican is of a different opinion, we will continue to believe that the Holy Virgin really came with Her Glorious Body six times to Cova da Iria, showed herself to the children, spoke to them and demonstrated Her presence to all the people present by unmistakable physical signs. Moreover, this opinion is shared by various ecclesiastical personalities, such as Monseigneur Hnilica, who confided to Cardinal Ratzinger :
It seems to me, after having thought about it all summer, that there is no evidence that all the apparitions and visions of the Holy Virgin belong to that which Your Eminence calls ‘’the middle ground’’ or ‘’interior perception’’. ( … ) 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 should the Virgin Mary, who rose up to Heaven with Her body, not be able to appear with Her body ?
Consequently, the words reported by Sister Lucia in her memoirs are indeed the words pronounced by Our Lady Herself and therefore the greatest attention should be paid to them.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Yves de Lassus,
President, Cap Fatima 2017