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Father Robert W. Fernando is a scholar on matters dealing with Fatima. He is one of the few priests who was privileged to have extensive access to the archives at Fatima.
He lived in Fatima, Portugal for several years and from 1970 to 1974 was the international director of the worldwide Pilgrim Virgin Apostolate. He is affectionately known to many by his pen name, "Father Fernando of Fatima".
He studied extensively from the original source material printed in Portuguese.
— Excerpts of an interview by Stanley Interrante in "The Wanderer"
Q. There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding Mary's request for the "collegial consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart". What is the nature of this collegial consecration?
A. The word "collegial" came into use mostly after Vatican II to stress the point that the successors of the Apostles acted as a college or body. All theologians do not quite agree with this idea because this can be misunderstood.
Some say today that Peter is simply one of the Apostles, the first among equals. This is totally wrong. This is one of the errors that has helped to create so many of the problems in the Church today.
Christ founded His Church and stated to Peter only, "Upon this rock I will build My Church." After the Resurrection, Peter was singled out; "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these?" There is one God, one Savior, one Church, one head of the Church. Naturally the Apostles work together. But there is only one head.
Sure, as a good human being the Pope prays and consults. But the final word is with him. Otherwise the Church cannot go on as it should.
The word "collegial" was not used by Our Lady. It was not used at all. After the great vision of Tuy in Spain on June 13, 1929, Our Lady said, "The time has come when God wants the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to My Immaculate Heart, so that by this means she may be saved."
So it is about this that there is all this controversy. You can write a whole book about how the word "Russia" got changed to the word "world" and so forth. The fact remains, as Sister Lucia herself has stated, that the consecration as asked for by God has not yet been fulfilled. That to me is quite clear.
Q. So you take the position that the Pope has not as yet made the consecration as requested by the Blessed Mother?
A. There are no two or three positions that anyone can take. There is only one position. The position is that it has not been done in the manner She requested. This is quite clear.
Q. What do you say to those who dismiss Fatima as being simply a private revelation and therefore not important or essential to the Faith?
A. Those priests who know some theology will state this, without full understanding, because they probably have not continued studying since they left the seminary. Many of the theology books will also use the term "private revelation".
Technically speaking, Christ revealed the full truth and by the end of the life of the last Apostle this body of truth was stabilized and is referred to as "public Revelation".
Theology taught that we were not bound to believe private revelations. Now that was going a bit too far, in my opinion, but that's how it was taught, as I was also taught. The more some theologians study this issue, however, the more they are clarifying the notion.
To my mind the word "revelation" is not the best one to use. It would be better I think to say perhaps "a new insight into Revelation", or a "special message given by God at this time", rather than the term "private revelation".
You cannot say that you can discount these special messages to man or that you need not believe in them. The Popes themselves have urged the people to take God's approved revelations to heart. Two Popes have come to Fatima to make the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the manner that they did.
No, you cannot talk about Fatima in the same way you refer to other revelations. Fatima is absolutely necessary for us and all of us must take it to heart and comply with it.
Q. What last thoughts would you like to leave with our readers on the place of Fatima in our Spiritual lives?
A. It is half-past the 11th hour. It is up to everyone to do at least the absolutely necessary things of praying the Rosary daily, practicing genuine devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, including the practice of the five first Saturdays, and helping the Holy Father and the bishops to make the consecration of Russia to Mary as She requested. This includes sacrifice, penance, and the avoidance of at least serious sin. With these things done, it can result in the salvation of many souls. The annihilation of various nations may be avoided and world peace may come.