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Fatima Controversy Continues
by John Vennari
One of the most frustrating aspects of reporting on the recent events at Fatima is having to deal with those who publicly claim that our reports are not true. It is a claim made by those who have no first-hand knowledge.
The Universe, a British Catholic weekly, published on the front page of its November 7 edition, a fairly accurate update on recent events in Fatima.
This was followed by published Letters to the Editor from individuals such as Britain’s Timothy Tindal-Robertson, who took The Universe to task for publishing the story. In the process, he implied that the reports we have published about Fatima were not reliable. An Irish reader sent a letter trying to make light of the May 5 Hindu event.
The Universe also published a letter from British writer Iain Colquehoun who defended our work of exposing the new interfaith orientation at Fatima.
What follows is a Letter I sent on December 7 to The Universe, in an attempt to set the record straight. As we go to press, (December 20) it has yet to appear in The Universe.
We publish this Letter in North America for CFN readers because this part of the world also has its share of those who try to cast doubt on the veracity of our reports.
The greatest offender on this point is EWTN.
This allegedly conservative television network has never contacted us to either challenge or verify CFN’s reports on Fatima.
Yet EWTN has told many people who write to them on this subject that our reports are probably not reliable and that CFN is simply scandal-mongering.
It is irresponsible of EWTN to speak about a matter they have not investigated.
It is also hypocritical, as it was not scandal-mongering, but praiseworthy, when in 1997, EWTN’s Mother Angelica publicly accused Cardinal Mahony of heresy. It is a service to Catholics to publicly denounce a Church leader who abuses his sacred office to propound error and scandal.
Likewise, it is not scandal-mongering for CFN to expose the recent interfaith outrages in Fatima and to explain why these events are contrary to the Catholic Faith. Catholics must know about these abuses so they can protest and resist them.
I have followed your articles and Letters to the Editor on the recent happenings at Fatima.
I am a Catholic journalist who traveled from the United States to Portugal to attend the three-day Inter-religious Congress at Fatima in October 2003. I tape-recorded all of the Congress and video-taped portions of it.
The inter-religious Congress at Fatima, presided over by Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra and the Bishop of Leiria/Fatima, contained some of the most un-Catholic statements I have ever encountered.
At the Congress, the Jesuit Father Jacques Dupuis gave a speech entitled, “From Confrontation to Dialogue” in which he denounced the infallible decree of the Council of Florence, “Extra ecclesia nullas sallus”. He said to the audience, “We need not invoke here that horrible text from the Council of Florence.” This is an explicit repudiation of a defined dogma of the Catholic Church, which would have resulted in Father Dupuis’ condemnation by every Pope before 1958.
Father Dupuis also said, among other novel statements, that the purpose of interreligious dialogue is not to convert non-Catholics to the Catholic Church, but rather, so that “the Christian will become a better Christian and the Hindu a better Hindu”. He would have one believe that conversion to the Catholic Faith is an option for salvation, not a necessity. Dupuis also said that all religions — Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists — are positively willed by God and that these religions are all part of the “Kingdom of God”. This statement conflicts with traditional Church teaching that the Kingdom of God is the Catholic Church alone, not a conglomeration of Christ’s true Church with man-made religions whose doctrines oppose and contradict one another, particularly regarding the centrality and divinity of Jesus Christ.
What I found most disturbing is that Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and the others in that room all applauded Father Dupuis’ novel teachings. (I have this on video) Worse yet, the next day, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald praised Father Dupuis’ speech saying, “Father Dupuis yesterday explained the theological basis of the establishment of relations with people of other religions.” Archbishop Fitzgerald thereby praised teachings that would have been condemned during any other age of the Church.
Also at the Congress, Father Irudayam, Shrine Rector of the Marian Shrine in Vailankanni, India, boasted that Hindus and Sikhs now worship in their rites in the Catholic Shrine, as an expression of interreligious dialogue.
This, too, was applauded by members of the Congress.
In December of 2003, I commented in Catholic Family News that if this inter-religious mind-set is now established in Fatima, it is only a matter of time before we see some sort of non-Christian ceremony at the Fatima Shrine, whether the Shrine is officially called an “interfaith Shrine” or not.
That prediction was fulfilled on May 5, 2004 when Hindus were allowed to perform a “prayer for peace” at the Catholic altar at the Shrine in Fatima. About 60 Hindus, after worshiping their various gods in their temple at Lisbon, traveled by bus to Fatima. The Hindus went to the Capelinha, the little Chapel of the Apparitions, where the Hindu priest recited the “Shanti Pa” prayer standing at the Catholic altar. The Hindus who made up the congregation in the chapel responded with one of their chants. I have a video copy of the Portuguese SIC television broadcast from the event, and I published photos from it in Catholic Family News and on the internet.
In response to international criticism, Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra issued a Communique claiming that on that day, “… no rite was performed on or off the altar”. I don’t know how he can say this, as the Hindu priest chanted the “Shanti Pa” prayer while standing at the altar, with the Hindus as the congregation. It was a Hindu religious ceremony, whether or not Father Guerra wishes to designate it as a “rite”.
Catholics — and even some Protestants whom I know — are outraged at this profanation of the Fatima Shrine. Yet there are those who allege that this is nothing for a Catholic to worry about. Worse yet, as the recent Letters to the Editor in The Universe indicate, there are those who claim that the reports we have published on these happenings are not true.
A man from Britain claimed that my reports on the 2003 Fatima Congress were not reliable. This charge is spurious as he was not at the Congress.
Further, those who were at the Congress and heard Father Dupuis’ speech, including Shrine Rector Guerra, Bishop Serafim da Souza of Fatima, Cardinal Policarpo of Lisbon, the Apostolic Delegate of Portugal, and Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, have had over a year to state publicly that my reports on the Congress were not true. None of them has done so. Shrine Rector Guerra, in two official Communiques on this topic, has not done so. This is because what I reported concerning the Congress is accurate. The evidence is recorded.
The Hindu prayer ceremony at Fatima did indeed take place. One of your readers from Ireland, who said he was there that day, tried to downplay the event’s significance, claiming that no one would have known about the Hindu prayer ceremony if SIC television had not broadcast it. Does this mean it is acceptable for Hindus to pray at a Catholic altar provided no one finds out?
What we have in this entire process — from the Inter-religious Congress to the Hindu prayer ceremony at the Capelinha — is a transformation of our Catholic religion from what it was for 2,000 years to a new pan-religious construct that would have horrified all of the pre-Vatican II Popes.
In 1962, when the “winds of change” were in the air, Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, the eminent American theologian and editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review, reminded his readers of Vatican I’s dogmatic teaching that Catholic truth can not change. The immutability of Catholic truth, he explained, is also reinforced in Pope Saint Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism, in which the Catholic solemnly swears before God to accept the doctrine “handed down to us from the Apostles through the orthodox Fathers with the same meaning and the same explanation (eodem sensu eodemque sententia).”
Yet we now see nothing but change all around us, a change in orientation that fuels religious indifferentism — the belief that man may find salvation in any religion — which was condemned explicitly by Popes Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and by the entire history of the Church.
I am one of thousands of Catholics who view the recent happenings at Fatima with horror. It is a departure from the Catholic Faith of all time. This is the reason for the storm of protest from Catholics worldwide against the new pan-religious orientation now manifest at Fatima.
Editor, Catholic Family News
Reprinted from the January 2005 edition of
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