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In The Fatima Crusader issue 75, we noted that Father Guerra, Rector of the Fatima Shrine, did not reply to the urgent messages from our columnist, Christopher Ferrara, which were sent on Nov. 10 and Nov. 23, 2003.
To bring you up to date on that correspondence, we publish below the complete correspondence, including Rector Guerra’s reply more than two months later.
As you can see, to the very simple question, "Did you or did you not make those statements attributed to you," the Rector essentially replied, "I could not tell you whether I said those scandalous things or not because I needed more than two months to think about it."
From: Christopher A. Ferrara
Date: November 10, 2003 12:57:52 AM EST
To: email@example.com Subject: Your reported statements
I am an American journalist who writes for several publications, including Latin Mass Magazine. I am inquiring whether the statements attributed to you in the following article are accurately quoted. Your prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.
Christopher A. Ferrara
Christopher A. Ferrara
November 21, 2003
Msgr. Luciano Guerra
Rector, Fatima Shrine
By fax: 011-351-249-53-9605
Dear Msgr. Guerra:
This is a follow-up to my email of 10 November 2003, in which (concerning an article I am writing for two Catholic journals) I inquired about the accuracy of certain statements attributed to you in the local press concerning the conference “The Present of Man — The Future of God” held at the Fatima Shrine in October. These statements include the following:
“The Future of Fatima must pass through the creation of a shrine where different religions can mingle. The inter-religious dialogue in Portugal and in the Catholic Church, is still in an embryonic phase, but the Shrine of Fatima is not indifferent to this fact and is already open to being a universalistic place of vocation.”
To repeat my previous inquiry: Do you deny that you made these statements?
I am also seeking your official responses to these questions:
1. Do you absolutely exclude for the future any permission for inter-religious ceremonies to be conducted on the grounds of the Fatima Shrine, either inside or outside the Basilica, or in the new structure to be built near the Basilica?
2. Do you absolutely exclude for the future any permission for religious ceremonies or observances of any kind conducted by non-Catholics on the grounds of the Fatima shrine, either inside or outside the Basilica, or in the new structure to be built near the Basilica?
3. Do you agree or disagree with the statement of Archbishop Fitzgerald after the conference in Fatima to the effect that the Fatima shrine has “an inter-religious dimension” on which the conference you hosted was an “ongoing reflection”?
Since you did not deny the statements attributed to you as set forth in my Nov. 10 e-mail, I have gone to press on the article I wrote. However, I wish to give you every opportunity to provide answers to these questions so that, if necessary, I can print your response in a subsequent article on this topic.
Sincerely yours, Christopher A. Ferrara
From: Centro de Comunicação Socia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: C.A. Ferrara@ Subject: Communiqué
Santuário de Fátima - Reitoria
Following a piece of news, which in our opinion was very tendentious, and which appeared in the newspaper “Portugal News”, regarding the Congress on God and the Shrines, which was held in this Shrine of Fátima in October of 2003, you wrote us a communication which we couldn’t then answer because it looked to us that the matter deserved a deeper reflection.
We apologize for this delay and want you to know that you may look up, in the official site of the Shrine of Fátima www.santuario-fatima.pt the communiqué that the Rectory published regarding that matter.
I raise up a prayer to Our Lady, asking Her for the grace that all Christians, as well as all non-Christians, make a serious effort in the area of understanding and dialogue, which are the conditions absolutely necessary to obtain the peace that was highly promised in the Message of Fátima.
With my best regards, The Rector, Fr. Luciano Guerra