“In the ecclesiastical order, discipline is neglected almost everywhere; due reverence is not given to priests; canonical sanctions are trodden underfoot; and the work of God is done only for temporal gain. Where are robberies lacking, where thefts, where false oaths, where sinful allurements? Who fears sacrilege? In fact, who has a horror of even the most atrocious crimes?” –Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072), Cardinal-Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Letter 51-52, written to the Cardinals of the Church
These were the words penned by one of the great Saints of the Church. For until today there has never been a time when the Church was in such a terrible state. Indeed, it was in those days as in our own that the very sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ had been infiltrated by those who sought to destroy the Church or at least simply make their comfortable living at the expense of the Church. Worse still was the wave of homosexual men who filled the ranks of the priesthood, and which we have seen explode in our faces all around the world with the priestly abuse scandals.
The most evident mark of God’s anger, and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifest when He permits His people to fall into the hands of a clergy who are more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. They abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world and, in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits. When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people and is visiting His most dreadful wrath upon them. (Saint John Eudes, 1601-1680)
And another Cardinal of our own day had words to match the great Doctor of the Church of the 11th century:
How much Christ suffers in his own Church. How often is the Holy Sacrament of His real presence abused. How often must He enter empty and evil hearts. How often do we celebrate only ourselves without even realizing that He is there. How often is His word twisted and misused. What little faith is present behind so many theories and so many empty words. How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those in the priesthood who should belong entirely to Him. How much pride. How much self complacency. What little respect for the sacrament of reconciliation where He waits for us to raise us up whenever we fall. How much filth there is. How much filth.
These words were preached directly to his fellow Cardinals on Good Friday 2005 just 3 ½ weeks before being elected Supreme Pontiff. For these were words were spoken by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
It appears that we are now living through those very days, the beginning of the apostasy, that our Lady had told Lucia about. Let us again consider the thoughts of Pope Benedict who is a German who was intimately involved in the Second World War, Vatican II, the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, and who had a close involvement with the whole issue of Fatima and in particular the third secret:
Certainly the results of Vatican II seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Pope Paul VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which, to use the words of Pope Paul VI, seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church. (L’Osservatore Romano, 24 December 1984)
The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest. (Address to the Chilean Bishops, 13 July 1988, Santiago Chile)
And so clearly our dear Holy Father believes that we have been in a terrible situation in the Church in recent decades. What then does he attribute this to? Let us see:
I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy. (“Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977” (SF, CA: Ignatius), p. 149.)
What happened at the Council was something else entirely: in the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living, process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product. (From the preface to the French edition of “Reforms of the Roman Liturgy Its Problems and Background” 1993)
The second great event at the beginning of my years in Regensburg was the publication of the Missal of Paul VI, which was accompanied by the almost total prohibition, after a transitional phase of only half a year, of using the missal we had had until then. (…) The prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic. (“Milestones – Memoirs 1927 – 1977”, Joseph Ratzinger, Ignatius, San Francisco, 1998, p. 146)
How then is this related to Fatima and the apostasy? We must recall the great principle of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, which translates as: The law of worship is the law of belief. This means that if one changes how one worships it will change what we believe and if we change what we believe we will change how we worship. In this case the latter has come to pass. The Catholic faith has been lost and even outright rejected by huge numbers of Catholics in recent decades. This seems to be the new and more terrible chastisement that was so awful it completely paralyzed with fear Sister Lucia.
The loss of souls is indeed the most terrible thing imaginable. Our Lord told us the same:
And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)
When the Church was placed in the hands of the young Cardinal Wojtyla in 1978 there was a turn of the tide, but it is imperceptible to many who hold with all that I have said thus far. While there is much one could criticize from the appearance of things in his long pontificate there is, I firmly believe much to mitigate what went on.
Archbishop Ratzinger had been made a Cardinal just a year earlier, and would be elevated to the second highest office in the Church only after the Pope himself in 1981.
Few know of one of the earliest actions performed by Blessed Pope John Paul II, and this was that he sent out a survey to all the Bishops of the world asking how things were going with the implementation of the new Rite of Mass, which had begun on the First Sunday of Advent in 1970. He did this because he had heard of many instances of problems. The initial response of the Bishops was that everything was rosy, but the perceptive young Pope knew right away that these accounts were not being completely truthful, and so he sent out the survey once again with firm instructions: “Now this time the truth!”
The responses were made with great reluctance but they revealed that Liturgical abuses were rife throughout the whole world, and there were many groups who deeply desired a return to the Traditional Roman Catholic Liturgy. The Holy Father took these things to heart, and over the next few years, with the help of Cardinal Ratzinger, composed a document that was to be a step toward correcting the devastating damage that had been done to the Liturgy.
We must now jump ahead for a moment before we can continue. April 19th 2000, Pope John Paul II has finally decided to reveal the third secret of Fatima, and here is what was released:
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.
A scary scene to be sure, but where was the rest of it? Where was the portion written on the 9th? Let us then take a step back now to 1981. It is the 13th of May, the 64th anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima, and Pope John Paul II is riding in his open car through Saint Peter’s Square and suddenly a gunman sprang out from the crowed and shot into the Holy Fathers chest point blank. He was rushed to the hospital immediately, and the doctors were astonished to find him alive, because Mehmet Ali Ağca had shot the Pope directly over his heart. Impossibly, however, the bullet actually moved around the heart of the Pontiff and came out of his back directly behind the heart. Near the end of his life the Holy Father said:
Could I forget that the event in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fatima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.
From the very beginning he attributed his miraculous protection to our Lady of Fatima, and I believe rightly so. It is interesting because the bullet that passed through him was recovered and it was taken to Fatima where it was found that it fit perfectly in top of the crown on the head of the statue of our Lady of Fatima.
Now the “official” interpretation of what was released of the third secret was that it referred to this assassination attempt, but it is clear that it does not. First of all, in the vision the Pope dies and secondly where are all the other martyrs killed after him? And if this is all it referred to why did they keep it secret until 2000?
Pope John Paul II would also have several other attempts on his life but all would come to naught. And this is most interesting because there is another prophecy from our Lady of La Salette that much more compellingly fits this event:
The Pope will be persecuted from every side, they will shoot at him, they will try to put him to death, but they will not be able to do anything. The Vicar of Christ will triumph yet again.
And at another point our Lady says this:
The Holy Father will suffer much. I will be with him until the end to receive his sacrifice. The evildoers will make many attempts on his life without being able to harm him in those days; but neither he nor his successor will see the triumph of the Church.
This seems much more fitting for our late Holy Father, who indeed suffered much, was shot at and many attempts were made on his life, and yet he was never killed. And it is very true that he was “persecuted from every side”, because even within the Church he had to suffer a great deal of terrible opposition. And he was also an extremely Marian Pope who promoted devotion to our Lady and to the Holy Rosary more than any of his immediate predecessors until we get back to the “Pope of the Rosary”: Leo XIII. He even openly practiced the True Devotion of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort and consecrated himself to Jesus through Mary according to his method.
The Pope was most zealous to promote our Lady but he ran into strong opposition when he tried to promulgate the proposed fifth Marian dogma, however, the opposition he received in 1984 for another plan of his is simply astounding.
As I said the Holy Father had taken the problems of liturgical abuse and the cry of the people for a return to the immemorial liturgy to heart. And his right hand man, Cardinal Ratzinger, certainly was for the return of the traditional Liturgy and a correction of the modern Liturgy as I have shown above. So then in 1984 the Pope proposed a measure to “free up” the old Rite which had never actually be done away with in actually, but which effectively had been suppressed. Every time I think about it still find the response incredible.
Before the document could be released the Bishop conferences of England, France, Germany, and Belgium (and possibly several others) sent representatives to Rome and said that if the Pope released this document they would not publish it in their countries and would completely ignore it, and this essentially meant they would be taking their respective countries into schism.
This even is not without precedent, because just 16 years earlier the Canadian Bishops as a body did the very same thing to Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae.
In his prudence Pope John Paul II decided that he could not at that time release the document he had prepared with Cardinal Ratzinger without serious repercussion that would outweigh any good that might come of it. It was then put in a drawer until 2007 when it was published as Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope John Paul didn’t completely give up on the idea, however, and he prepared another much more sedate document that gave a very specific and selective permission for the use of the old Rite in certain circumstances. The name of the document is Quattuor Abhinc Annos. And though it really is a blip that meant very little in the way of actually freeing up the old Rite it meant a great deal symbolically because it was the first step in a long process (that is still ongoing) to restore the Liturgy of the Roman Rite.
What is most interesting of all is the date on which it was released: October 3rd, 1984. Almost exactly 100 years to the day from the vision of Pope Leo XIII.
Four years later tragedy struck at Econe Switzerland when the head of the Society of Saint Pius X, which had been vigorously defended by Cardinal Ratzinger, consecrated four of the Societies Priests as Bishops without the permission of the Holy Father. The good Archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, had actually been one of the clerics who had written the preparatory documents of Vatican II, which had been thrown out at the very start of the council. When everything went crazy after the council he foresaw the destruction of priestly formation and asked and was given permission by Rome to continue forming priests in the traditional manner. Thus the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X was born, but because of so much negative pressure and the horror of the Church being ripped apart around them a mistake was made.
But God can bring good from anything, and from this was born a new and stronger document from the heart of Pope John Paul II: Ecclesia Dei adflicta (the Church in great affliction). From this was born the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, which was founded by 10 members of the Society that had left just before the consecrations to appeal to Rome to continue the work of promoting and offering to the faithful the traditional Liturgy and the authentic teachings of the Catholic faith. Their great patron was Cardinal Ratzinger who secured for them their first seminary in Bavaria in Germany.
It was our Holy Father, Pope Benedict’s, great wish to heal the split that happened in 1988, and he worked tirelessly for it even though he faced much opposition. He suffered a great deal from all sides as did Pope John Paul II. I cannot help but ponder again upon the words of our Lady at La Salette and those of the part of the third secret of Fatima that has been revealed.
If the prophecy of La Salette refers to Blessed Pope John Paul II then his successor will not see the triumph of the Church through the Immaculate Heart, which it would seem will only come after the events foretold in the third secret.
I believe, and I am not alone in this belief, that it is very possible if not even very likely that a terrible persecution is coming of the Church, which will almost certainly mirror on a world scale what was seen in Mexico and Spain in the 1920s-30s, and ultimately it will come to the martyrdom of our Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or our reigning Holy Father Pope Francis, as our Lady foretold it at Fatima.
The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart still needs to be performed, and the devotion of the five first Saturdays needs to be promoted more fervently at every level of the Church. I believe the consecration will coincide with the definition of the proposed 5th Marian Dogma and these actions will indeed usher in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
The 100 year anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima is rapidly approaching in 2017. And some believe that the 100 years given to satan by God to chastise the Church, as Pope Leo XIII saw in his vision, began in that year of those apparitions and that is why our Lady came to warn us. If that is so could be see the triumph of the Immaculate Heart in our lifetimes?
And now do we have a Pope who will finally accomplish these things? Pope Francis seems very much to have the very same exuberance for our Lady that Pope John Paul II had and even made it a point as his first official outing the morning after being elected to visit our Lady’s Church and venerated one of most ancient Icons of our Lady in existence (one that is believed to have been inspired by the very first Icon painted by Saint Luke who also interviewed our Lady personally to write his Gospel) and he brought flowers.
But even more encouraging in regard to Fatima was his request to the Bishops of Portugal to Consecrate his Pontificate to our Lady of Fatima. His request was granted and the consecration was performed on the Feast of our Lady of Fatima (May 13th) of this year. You can read a translation of the full text here. Let us pray that our Holy Father will finally fulfill the requests of our Lady that have gone so long without satisfactory completion.
[7/5/13] On July 5th, 2013 Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI consecrated Vatican City to Saint Joseph and Saint Michael the Archangel on the occasion of the dedication of a monument to Saint Michael, in front of the Governatorate of Vatican City State.
[8/13/13] Pope Francis has now announced that he will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th of this year in Rome in the presence of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima he is having brought from Portugal for the occasion.
[8/24/14] Sadly, the Consecration performed by Pope Francis still did not fulfill the requirements of our Lady’s request at Fatima, as has been the case of all of his predecessors from Saint John XXIII on. So it seems we still have more time to wait yet until our Lady’s prophecy that indeed her request will be fulfilled and it will be about the reign of the Immaculate Heart. That that day may come.
[5/13/17] On the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of our Lady at Fatima, Pope Francis canonized Jacinta and Francisco Saints. We wait for October 13th…
Listen: Fatima Parish Mission (Everything you ever need to know about Fatima in 5 sermons)
We must pray, and pray a great deal. We must offer ourselves as sacrifices performing penances for the conversion of sinners and reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. We must especially pray for our two Holy Fathers, the Bishops, and our Priests. We must live the message of Fatima without any reservation, and consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary, to His most Sacred and Precious Heart through the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of His Mother. The time is coming that all will be gathered into one of two camps: that of Jesus Christ, and that of the Devil. “He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.” (Lk 11:23)
“Who’s going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.” (Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)
If the Jesuits of Hiroshima and the Franciscans of Nagasaki were delivered from a nuclear blast by living the message of Fatima why don’t we do the same? If we did what would we have to worry about any more since we would be always in our Lady’s arms.
Let us now begin to make reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and His Holy Face and to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of His Mother the ever Blessed Virgin Mary, and let us start today and persevere in this before it is too late and God brings down his chastisement upon us.
If we wish to be pleasing to the Lord, we must remove the cause of His anger, which is sin. The man sick of the palsy besought Jesus Christ to restore the health of his body; but, before granting his request, our Lord first restored his soul’s health by giving him sorrow for his sins, and then saying to him: Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. 9:2) St. Thomas says that the Redeemer first removed the cause of his infirmity, namely, his sins, and then freed him from the infirmity itself. “He asked for the health of the body, and the Lord gave him the health of the soul; because, like a good physician, he wished to take away the root of the evil.” (Matt. 9) Sin is the root of every evil, as we find in St. Bernardine of Sienna. Hence the Lord after having healed him, warned him against sin in these words: Go thy way, and sin no more, lest something worse befall thee. (John 5:14) Ecclesiasticus said the same before our Lord: My son, in thy sickness . . . cleanse thy heart from sin, . . . and then give place to the physician. (Ecclus. 38:9) You must first apply to the physician of the soul in order that He may free you from your sins, and then to the physician of the body that he may cure you of your disease.
In a word, the cause of all our chastisements is sin; and still more than sin, our obstinacy in it, as St. Basil says. We have offended God, and are, notwithstanding, unwilling to do penance. When God calls by the voice of His punishment, He desires that He should be heard; if He be not, He shall be compelled by ourselves to curse us: But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God . . . all these curses shall come upon thee; . . . cursed shalt thou be in the city, cursed in the field. (Deut. 28:15) When we offend God, we provoke all creatures to punish us. St. Anselm says that in the same manner as a servant, when he offends his master, draws down upon him the wrath, not only of his master, but of the whole family; so we, when we offend God, excite against us the anger of all creatures. And St. Gregory says that we have more especially irritated against us those creatures which we have made use of against our Creator. God’s mercy holds in those creatures that they may not afflict us, but when He sees that we make no account of His threats, and continue to live on in our former way, He will then make use of those creatures to take vengeance on us for the injuries we have done Him: He will arm the creature for the revenge of His enemies. And the whole world shall fight with Him against the unwise. (Wisd. 5:18) “There is no creature,” says St. John Chrysostom, “which will not feel anger when it sees its Lord in anger.”
If then, my brethren, we do not appease God by our conversion, we never shall be free from chastisement. What folly, says St. Gregory, could be more extreme than to imagine that God should cease to chastise before we should have ceased to offend? Many now come to the church, and hear the sermon, but go away without confession, or change of life. If we do not remove the cause of the scourge, how can we expect to be delivered from the scourge itself. Such is the reflection of St. Jerome. We continue to irritate God, and then wonder that God should continue to chastise us. “Impure as we are,” says Salvian, “we wonder why we should be so miserable.” Do we think that God is appeased by the mere circumstance of our appearing at church without repenting of our sins, without restoring the property or character of our neighbor, without avoiding those occasions of sin which keep us at a distance from God? Ah, let us not mock the Lord! And now do not mock, lest your bonds be tied strait. (Is. 28:22) Do not mock God, says the prophet, lest those bonds which are securing you for Hell be tied strait. Cornelius a Lapide, in commenting on the above passage of Isaias, says that when the fox is caught in the snare, its efforts to disengage itself only serve to entangle it the more. “So also will it happen to sinners who, while mocking at God’s threats and punishments, become more and more involved in them.” My brethren, let us have done; let us no more irritate God; the chastisement is near at hand: For I have heard of the Lord the God of Hosts, continues the prophet, a consumption, and a cutting short upon all the earth. I am not the prophet Isaias, but I can say that I see the scourge which is hanging over us if we do not be converted. (Saint Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri; Six Discourses on Natural Calamities, Divine Threats, and the Four Gates of Hell; Fifth Discourse)
We only need trust in our Lady for she is our protection:
Mary has the authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride. Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure, dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs. (Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, #28)
Take up your weapons:
The two means for saving the world are prayer and sacrifice. Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls. Finally, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and as the sure door of entering Heaven. (Sister Lucia on December 26th, 1957 to Father Augustin Fuentes)
Saint Therese’ Daily Prayer for Priests
O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests: who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.
May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.
Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.
Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love.