100th Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions

Frequently asked questions


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Isn’t Fatima just private revelation? Why should we pay attention to private revelation?

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What is the Secret of Fatima?

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When did Our Lady come to request the consecration of Russia?

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Has Our Lady’s call for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart been answered?


Isn’t Fatima just private revelation? Why should we pay attention to private revelation?

Because the Church does. Regarding private revelation Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, says:

We must all be aware with what caution Holy Mother Church looks upon private revelations, particularly when through them some action is requested of Church authorities that would affect the Church’s liturgical life or devotional practices. This was certainly the case with the revelations granted to the now “Saint” Faustina.

The great theologian and Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas, mindful in this matter of the Apostle Paul’s warning in his First Letter to the Thessalonians (5:19-21), writes: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good,” do not treat private revelations lightly. He places them in the category of the prophetic ministry in the Church as he considers verse 18 from chapter 29 of the Book of Proverbs. That passage is usually translated: “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish.” But the great theologian and Doctor of the Church St. Thomas prefers the translation that reads: “Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint” (Summa Theologiae, 2a2ae, Q.174, article 6).

Saint Thomas writes, “That is why at every period men were instructed by God about what they were to do, according as was expedient for the salvation of the elect,” not to proclaim new doctrines (for that would be incompatible with the concept of prophecy), but to offer a deeper understanding of particular revealed truths, or to give guidance to leaders in the Church as to actions they should take in given times and circumstances for the good government of the faithful. For “... divine grace which inspires prophets is, for man, a still more effective means of help,” St. Thomas continues. “Light from prophecy extends also to the directing of human acts. In this sense prophecy is needed for the ruling of a people, and especially as regards the worship of God. For in this nature is insufficient, and grace indispensable” (Summa Theologiae, 2a2ae, Q.172, article 1 ad 3 and 4).

Saint Peter is quite emphatic about the source of prophecy, saying “... for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God” (2 Pet 1:21).

The great Jesuit theologian Fr. Karl Rahner was asked by the father general of his religious order to explain the rationale of private revelations, such as those regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of which the Society of Jesus was the principal proponent. Father Rahner pointed out that, “A private revelation as a mission to the Church signifies not so much an Indicative [a declaration] communicating something new ... but an Imperative [a command] which, within the concept of a particular situation of the Church, points out a particular course of action from the many possible, according to the universal and public revelation, as the most urgently needing to be realized. ... An imperative of this kind is possible because, while in the knowledge [the entire body] of the faith many things at the same time can be true and good, in the action [exercise] of the faith not everything that is true and good can be actuated at the same time, to the same degree and with the same intensity. Hence, the private revelation as a mission to the Church ... answers the question as to what is most urgently to be done here and now in accordance with the general principles of the faith” (Theological Investigations, Vol. III, pp. 338, 339), and, St. Thomas would add, “according as [is] expedient for the salvation of the elect” (cf. above). …

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What is the Secret of Fatima?

The secret is made up of three distinct parts. The first two refer especially to the vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the vast damage Russia would do to humanity by forsaking the Christian faith and embracing totalitarianism. Sister Lucia writes:


The first part is the vision of hell.

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.

We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:


You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.


And here is the third part of the secret:

J.M.J.

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.


I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Tuy-3-1-1944


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When did Our Lady come to request the consecration of Russia?

Sister Lucia describes the June 13, 1929 apparition that occurred in the convent chapel of the Dorothean Sisters in Tuy, Spain, as follows:


The whole chapel was illuminated by a supernatural light and a Cross of light appeared above the altar, reaching the ceiling. In a bright light at the upper part of the Cross could be seen the face of a man and His body to the waist (the Father). On His breast was a dove, also of light (the Holy Spirit), and nailed to the Cross was the body of another man (the Son). Somewhat above the waist, I could see a chalice and a large Host suspended in the air onto which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus crucified and from the wound in His side. These drops ran down onto the Host and fell into the chalice. Our Lady was beneath the right arm of the Cross. It was Our Lady of Fatima with her Heart within a crown of thorns and flames. Under the left arm of the Cross, large letters, as if of crystal clear water, which ran down over the altar, formed the words “Grace and Mercy.” I understood that it was the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me.

[…]

[Our Lady said:] The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask for reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.


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Has Our Lady’s call for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart been answered?

Yes, according to the Holy See and Sr. Lucia. In the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s document “The Message of Fatima,” released on June 26, 2000, we read:


Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989).

Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.


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