- WHY FATIMA
- FATIMA CENTER
- PRAYER & DEVOTION
The priesthood to which we belong is a vocation founded by God Himself for the salvation of souls. Physicians practice the vocation of healing the body; lawyers the vocation of legal rights and remedies; accountants the vocation of accounting for money and taxes. Priests practice the vocation of saving souls, and their tools are the seven sacraments, prayer, and the spiritual life.
In earthly professions such as medicine and the law, there are “trends” and even fads on how best to practice these professions. It should not be so in the Catholic priesthood. The methods of the priesthood—administering the sacraments, preaching the Gospel, baptizing, catechizing and marrying the members of the flock, evangelizing the lost sheep—are as ancient as the Church itself.
St. Thomas tell us in the Summa Theologicae, II-II, Q. 174 that “God sends prophets to every generation to tell the faithful what they must do to save their souls”. Even when God sends a prophet for a given age, however, it is to remind the Church, especially her priests, of the ways He has established from all eternity. There is no “modern” as opposed to “old fashioned” priesthood. There is only the timeless Order of Melchisidech, according to which “thou art a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:21). The priesthood, like Him who founded it, is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Priests have the immediate care of the faithful, so priests will be decisive in determining whether the prophet sent by God for our age—Our Lady of Fatima—is heeded. In doing what must be done to honor what John Paul II called the “commitment” that the Message of Fatima imposes on the Church, we priests must act on our own initiative, just as we do in serving the souls that God has placed in our care. Indeed, this duty of personal initiative applies to every member of the Church in accordance with his station. Every member of the Church must act on his or her own initiative without waiting for “orders” to proceed. We have already received our orders from the Mother of God at Fatima, as Pope John Paul recognized.
When Sister Lucy, speaking of the duty of everyone to heed the Message of Fatima, said “we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father… [n]or should we wait for… our bishops in our dioceses, nor… the religious congregations,” she was not suggesting that we should disregard the hierarchical structure of the Church. Instead, she was noting that the Church is more than just the hierarchy. The Church is a community of the faithful, and each member of that community has the duty to know and live the Faith. With or without orders from above, therefore, we must heed what Christ has commanded through His Virgin Mother at Fatima. Our Lord did not send His Mother to Fatima and furnish Her with the Miracle of the Sun in order to have Her Message ignored.
As Pope Pius XII taught so beautifully in his great encyclical Mystici Corporis (1943), the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. In his Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul repeatedly described the Mystical Body as an organic unity of the members of the Church in Christ and the Holy Ghost. In a key passage in that epistle, Saint Paul taught infallibly that the Mystical Body thrives and grows when all of its members live the truth of the Gospel of Christ in charity:
“But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
In his Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul further teaches infallibly that the unity of the members of the Mystical Body is so intimate that each member functions analogously to a cell or organ in a human body, so that the health of the Mystical Body depends upon each member performing its function assigned by God. While the failure of any part of the Mystical Body causes harm to the whole and the suffering of one member is the suffering of all, the glory of one member of the Mystical Body is also the glory of all its members:
“For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink. For the body also is not one member, but many.
“If the foot should say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were the eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
“But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body? But now there are many members indeed, yet one body. “And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you…. And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it….
“And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (From 1 Corinthians 12:12-30.)
We priests as members of the Mystical Body have a direct responsibility to God for the care of the souls placed in our charge. We cannot point to other members of the Body and say it is up to them to give us orders to do something about the state of the Church. Our failure to act is a failure of the whole Body, and the ill consequences of our failure causes illness throughout the Body for which we alone are responsible.
We are the ministers who administer the sacraments that provide to the faithful under our care the sanctifying grace necessary for salvation. We are the preachers of the Gospel who convey to our flocks the revealed truths they must know and follow in order to be saved. We do not need, and must not wait for, orders from above to administer the sacraments and preach the Gospel. So it is with the Message of Fatima.
When God sends a prophet to give counsel and warning to His Church in a particular age, priests have the primary responsibility for making that counsel and warning known to the faithful. We priests of today have the primary responsibility for making known and promoting adherence to the Message of Fatima—God’s counsel and warning to the Church and world of this age.
What is needed in this time of unparalleled danger to the Church and the world, therefore, is a Fatima Movement of Priests—open to every priest in the Church—to bring about a true renewal of the Church in the light of the Message of Fatima, and thereby spare both the Church and the world that chastisement of which Heaven itself has warned us through the Mother of God.
This Movement must have as its aim the spiritual reformation of each of us priests and of each member of the faithful in our charge. The Message of Fatima gives us a roadmap to such a spiritual reformation. We see in that Message five principles to guide the Movement we propose:
First, is total adherence to the dogmas of the Faith as infallibly defined by the Magisterium. Catholic dogmas—the Trinity, the Incarnation, Transubstantiation, the divine institution of the Church, the seven Sacraments, the necessity of the Church and her Sacraments for salvation, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and so forth—are the bedrock of our faith. As Our Lord said, it is the truth that makes us free.
What has been lost or obscured in this time of confusion is the fact that our faith is not a feeling, but a body of revealed truths to which the mind must assent for salvation. If dogma is attacked, the Faith is attacked, and if the attack succeeds, the Church descends into chaos. Our Lady warned us at Fatima about this very danger when She said, at the beginning of the Third Secret, that “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved…” Clearly, since 1960—the year in which the Third Secret was to have been revealed—there has been a loss or compromise of dogma in many places in the Church, and the resulting state of the Church speaks for itself. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger noted, the Third Secret is about “dangers threatening the Faith and the life of the Christian and therefore of the world.”
The attack on dogma is not only an attack on the integrity of the Church, but also on the safety of the entire human race. As the Council of Trent teaches us, the prayers and penances of the Catholic faithful, especially when united with the supreme sacrifice of Christ in a rightly offered Mass, stays the wrath of God and averts His divine punishments. When the faithful lose the Faith, however, the efficacy of the Church’s prayer is diminished and the hand of God can no longer be stayed. Did not Our Lord Himself warn us: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.” (Matthew 5:13). That is precisely the warning that Our Lady gave us at Fatima and Akita: If the members of the Church lose the Faith, a faithless world will not be able to avoid a divine chastisement.
The spiritual reformation of the individual called for by Our Lady of Fatima presupposes a foundation of dogma to which each person has assented. On the foundation of dogma, the grace of the sacraments builds up the Catholic soul into a healthy member of the Mystical Body; when there are enough such healthy members, everything promised to us by the Message of Fatima will take place.
Let no one say that today the dogmas of the Faith are understood differently than they were in earlier times because the “spirit of Vatican II” has given us a “deeper insight” into those truths. No one in the Church, not even a Pope, can require us to abandon the traditional understanding of the dogma of the Faith in favor of some new understanding. As the First Vatican Council declared: “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”9 Moreover, the same Council declared: “[T]hat understanding of the sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding…”
That is why Saint Paul has warned the Church: “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:8) The infallibly defined dogmas of the Faith are the way by which we can know with absolute certainty whether someone is attempting to urge upon us something that runs contrary to the truths handed down to us from the Apostles. The loss of understanding of and adherence to dogma is the greatest threat to the Church today, for without dogma the entire Faith collapses and disappears.
In short, the very beginning of our work as priests in the Fatima Movement of Priests is to recover and promote the dogmas of the Faith so widely neglected over the past forty years. When this work is completed such that we and the faithful in our care have been renewed in the truths of the Faith, grace can build upon those truths to restore health to the whole Mystical Body. This restoration of dogma will help bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Second, we must believe and preach without hesitation the constant teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium on Our Lady’s special role as Mediatrix of All Graces. The Message of Fatima demonstrates Our Blessed Mother’s role as Mediatrix: Russia will be converted, souls will be saved, and there will be peace if we practice devotion to Her Immaculate Heart and consecrate Russia to that same Heart, so that the whole world will recognize the connection between this Catholic dogma and the miraculous benefits which will be showered on the world when the Consecration is done.
Third, we must understand and promote an understanding of and a commitment to the Message of Fatima.
We cannot listen to anyone who says that Fatima is “just a private revelation.” Nonsense! The Message of Fatima is a public prophetic revelation confirmed by a public miracle witnessed by 70,000 people. Our Lady promised the three children this miracle precisely so that no one could reasonably doubt the authenticity of Her Message, which is meant for the Church and the whole world.
Popes Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II have all attested to the authenticity of the Fatima Message. The Message of Fatima is part of the life of the Church! It was given to the Church for the benefit of every living soul. The Mother of God did not come to earth and God did not cause the Miracle of the Sun in order to dispense some gratuitous advice the faithful could ignore at their pleasure. We must not insult the Mother of God by dismissing Her Message for to insult God’s Mother is to insult God Himself. We know the fate of those throughout salvation history who have ignored the advice of God’s true prophets.
On the other hand, if we heed the prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima and practice the spiritual measures She prescribed for us—prayer (including the prayers recommended in the Fatima Message), penance, the daily Rosary, the Five First Saturdays devotion, the wearing of the Brown Scapular—God will bestow upon His Church the graces that will lead the Pope and all the bishops to perform that singular consecration which will unleash a miracle of grace upon the whole world. In order to see that glorious day, we priests must begin with the spiritual means at hand, which Our Lady provided to us at Fatima.
Fourth, the Fatima Movement of Priests must pursue unwaveringly the true Consecration of Russia, by name, in a public ceremony conducted by the Pope and all the bishops of the world in obedience to Our Lady of Fatima and Her divine Son. We have seen that the 1982 and 1984 consecration ceremonies did not mention Russia for mere human reasons of diplomacy and ecumenical courtesy.
Our Lady promised, by the authority of God Himself, that if Russia were consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart it would be converted, many souls would be saved, and there would be peace in the world, but that if Russia were not consecrated many souls would be lost, the Church would be persecuted, the Holy Father would suffer greatly and various nations would be annihilated. The fate of countless souls and of the whole world is at stake. There is no room for doubt or ambiguity. The Church and the world have nothing to lose and everything to gain by precisely obeying Our Lady. The Church and the world have everything to lose and nothing to gain by ignoring the Message of Fatima.
Fifth, all of us priests must teach others about the Fatima Message in its fullness. This requires first that we come to understand the prophecies revealed in the Fatima Message, the prayers and devotions it prescribes, the promises it offers, and the warnings it gives. We must ensure that our understanding of these things is passed on to the faithful in our care. Lastly, we must live the Fatima Message in our daily lives, by words and example.
These then are the five basic principles of the Fatima Movement of Priests. In the last chapter of this booklet, we will outline a program by which we priests can put these principles into practice as part of our sacred ministry to the faithful, to hasten the day when the world will witness the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.Notes